Thursday, 2 May 2013

Peace, perfect Peace

Sunday GospelJohn 14:23-29 

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while 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 I have said to you.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.’

John reminds us again of what a great vision we can have in hindsight. In the joy and revelation of the Resurrection it must have been easy to sit around the campfire or the table of hospitality and let themselves be reminded of all those conversations with Jesus that had made no sense at all. 
Here we are introduced to the idea of God as Trinity. In one breath Jesus speaks of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; a Union that give Christians a deep assuredness of God’s presence in all of their lives. For the Jewish disciples, committed to a belief in one God, this seems the opposite of everything they were taught to believe in. No wonder it had made no sense; that Jesus regarded God as intimately as a son would love a human father was enough of a challenge. And now, the Holy Spirit – sent from both the Father and the Son to be our guardian and guide.  

God fusses over us, as Jesus reminds us, like a hen with her chicks. So much so, that even with the tragic foreboding of the end of Jesus'  earthly life, it is the spiritual wellbeing of his friends and his followers that concerns him most. Since he drew them to his side they have belonged to him; the nearness of his death elevates his sense of responsbility to that of a parent and child.  He has only just promised that he will not leave us orphans. His desire to always be among us in the everyday and the everywhere can only be fulfilled by the gift of the Holy Spirit; the Paraclete - the One who walks Beside - an eternal companion offering unconditional love, wisdom and guidance. 

Everything that Jesus has, he gives to us.

As Christians, we call on this wraparound of God’s presence with every Sign of the Cross. A Unity and a Tri-unity of loving invitation and promise.   Our lives will be anything but easy if we leave the world's claim on us and try to follow our brother Jesus as servants of compassion. The peace he offers us is not one of avoidance or retreat; it is the peace of living in God's light. Walking in Jesus' footsteps, we can rest in the holding of the Father embrace and  the watchfulness of the Holy Spirit. A peace that assures all of us that we too are part of this Family of Love.


1 comment:

Lynda said...

What a beautiful expression, "this wraparound of God’s presence"! It is a very accurate description of how I feel. Thank you.