Friday, May 12 2023
>>>>CLICK HERE FOR FULL EMAIL VERSION
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.”
John 14: 18
Such a comforting message that Jesus gives his disciples in this week’s Gospel! “I will not leave you orphaned.” Comforting even as we yearn for stability. Please don’t change. Please don’t go. We hope that our loved ones will be with us forever and we dread the day that they will no longer be at our physical side.
The disciples were being given a message that must have been churning in their stomachs. Jesus is leaving them. What will they do now? All they understood about how to follow him was through his physical presence.
I remember when I lost my father. It felt like the bottom of my life just fell. What will I do now? And so, I became ever so protective of my mother. No, I can’t lose you! We traveled back and forth to Rochester so often to make sure mom was ok. That she was still there. And yet, she too died less than five years after my father.
We live in a world where many of us feel and experience the uncertainty of each day. Uncertainty and impermanence are always real. Yet, we long for something that is unmovable yet lifegiving. We are given that in this week’s Gospel. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This is how you are being called to live and love. Not holding tight, but sharing that love.
Jesus’ farewell discourse takes place at the last supper the night before he knew he’d be crucified. He is preparing his disciples for their loss. He prepares us also. How to live into the uncertainty of the days ahead when we feel so alone and abandoned.
But the good news is that we have not been abandoned. When Jesus tells his disciples “I will not leave you as orphans! I will come to you,” he is acknowledging their vulnerability and reminds them that they are never alone. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” Jesus has sent the Comforter, the Intercessor, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
When I travel to my birth home in Rochester now, I am not able to be in the physical presence of my own mother, and yet there are always the signs of her presence among us – my siblings and extended family, our old home – still occupied by a family member, my grandmother’s home where we picnicked and worked in the garden. I can smell mom in the flowers and freshness of the air around me.
We celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. It is also a day when we think about all the people who have loved us and who we have loved in return. For the many of us who feel vulnerable – perhaps lost in a motherless world, be reminded that we all have an Advocate and Comforter.
“O Love, that will not let me go”…. You have not been orphaned – not by the Spirit, and not by those in whom the Spirit has made a home!
May we each find our home in You, Lord!
Sharing with you in a love that will not let us go,