Reading: John 14: 15-21
This time period is an important part of the church’s year for me. We have celebrated Easter - Jesus’s great victory over death, his dying renting the veil of the temple, opening up heaven, opening the way back to all who come to him, who decide to believe and follow him. “Come to me - find the father” Jesus says. We are looking ahead to the annual reminder of Pentecost - the coming of the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus, who told his front line troops - the 11 disciples who would launch his worldwide mission - to wait until they received the blessing of the Spirit. Pentecost - that fact of history - something happened to power the message - how else could a few men change the world. We see now that that move of HS, then, means we are here now. And He is still moving on.
So in this “in-between time”, as we imagine the world waiting for the explosion of this good news, this wave to arrive, we can:
- learn how the waiting believers were prepared by Jesus,
- can see how Paul practiced, and
- we can be encouraged in the task set before us, in our time.
There is much to think of today, and three themes to explore in today’s gospel text, part of Jesus’s final briefing before his arrest, as recorded by John:
- The Dynamic of faith
- The Relationship of faith
- The promise of faith
First the Dynamic of faith. It is exciting. John describes an active living process going both ways – us to heaven, and heaven back – we love, and keep. Jesus asks, and his Father God sends. Sends what? The Advocate. The Spirit of truth. An advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends. The world – made of those who do not seek to believe - cannot see him and so does not know him. But because He is sent to live within us, we see and know him. Because Jesus lives, we live.
Second the Relationship of faith – Jesus tells us that this faith is between two beings (not of us with an inanimate man-made object). There is a parent - child idea. Jesus says “I will not leave you orphaned. I will live with you. I and the father are one”
Third the promise of faith. Jesus says, “I will love you and reveal myself to you”. All this helps us see – opens our spiritual eyes.
John writes his gospel so that we may all see and believe, and so have life in Jesus name. John regularly records that the disciples - already following Jesus - see what he does and put their trust in him. They practiced lifelong learning. we should do the same.
Richard Rohr, Franciscan friar, reminds us of the foundational elements of the path of pilgrimage: ‘Keep learning; Keep humble; Keep living in wonder.’
So we have a dynamic, a relationship, a promise, to a world today – religious in today’s way, making many idols, yet seeking hope, and in a new circumstance. Many people are looking afresh at the God who is the one constant in a world of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit helps us see, and believe. May we be conduits to enable the Spirit to reach others. To tell the good news of Jesus Christ to a waiting city and world.
Lord, please help us care for ourselves, each other, and your church