Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spirit and Peace John 14:23-29

Jesus said a lot the night before he died. What he said has given hope and purpose to his followers ever after. In one evening he called his friends to find greatness in serving. A few moments later Jesus promised to be with his people in the bread and wine of communion. As the evening went on Jesus said he would give his followers a kind of peace that this world can't give. Jesus was naming the deep needs of every human soul—acceptance and companionship—and he promised his friends that they would not be alone. He was promising God's ongoing presence-no matter what. He said that God would be there through the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples that he goes with his people even though they can't see him face to face or hear his voice like they did at supper that night.

Sometimes it feels like we can get lost in this world. At home we started the week worried about stuff, packing, transporting, unpacking, rearranging. I do feel just a little lost right now. And when I got back into the office, all I can say is wow. There were phone calls for help, concerns about the church, and one of my old roommates from 25 years ago sent a message. His beloved has had heart issues since childhood, and now she's been shifted to hospice care. He's 46 and loosing the woman he wanted to grow old with.

We've had calls at church this week from families in crisis and people dealing with grief and loss. There's so much that people are dealing with and it makes my worries about stuff and where to put it seem really pretty trivial. And it reminds me again of the truth that deep down we are all fragile and deep down we all need God's presence every day.

Walking with Jesus doesn't end our fragility—but he promises to go with us in our weakness. Yes you are fragile, yes you can have struggles in this world with people, and money, and time. Yes you are mortal and your body will not last for ever. And Jesus says he will give you a kind of peace that this world can never give. Jesus promises God's loving presence as the Holy Spirit to go with you through your trials and fears. God doesn't cause the trials or the struggles—but the God of love promises to be with you right in the middle of it all.

Down deep every person needs relationships and Jesus is promising to be in relationship with us even when we can't see him. Jesus spoke to the deep needs that his people had the night before he died. Jesus knew his friends would be plunded into deep grief and loss. And his words still speak today of the hope that every person needs still today.

We aren't meant to be here alone. And Jesus talked, that night after supper, about going away. He talked about the days to come when he wouldn't be seen anymore like they saw him that night. He said that he wouldn't speak with his friends like he was speaking with them that night. Jesus' followers know well what he meant. Believers don't see him face to face over supper. But in faith Jesus' followers somehow know that Jesus is still here present and active. The life of faith is all about living in Jesus' promise. He made it clear that while his friends wouldn't see him they wouldn't be alone either. That night he pledged them that the Spirit would come and that they would find a peace this world can never give.

May the peace of Christ and the hope of the Spirit go with you wherever you go.
Peace and thanks for reading, John