Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
John 14:18-31 (NRSV)
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.”
I still remember standing on the sidewalk, waving as they drove away. I was now a sophomore at Bethel College, 12 hours from my home in Austin, Texas. I remember my eyes watering, even at 19 years old, as mom and dad drove off. I was a long way from home now. They wouldn’t be a quick ride over or just in the other room. I would be without them for a while.
In some ways this was probably the same way I felt when they left my sister and me with a babysitter when we were younger. It’s hard to remember those feelings exactly, but I do remember wondering, When are they coming back? Who is going to take care of us? Of course, any normal child would have such questions. There is that mixture between wonder and fear, but our parents assured us, “We will see you in the morning.”
So, it makes sense that when Jesus started talking about leaving, there was both confusion and fear. The one person they could count on was leaving, but not leaving them alone. The Holy Spirit’s presence is the reminder that Christ has not left us alone, but will see us in the morning. It is the love he has for us and that we are called to share that soothes our anxious hearts and eases our fears.
Loving God, give us courage when we feel alone. Remind us always that you are with us and that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, strengthening us as we live each day. Amen.
Go with God.