May 14, 2017
Easter 5A
John 14:1-14

 

Seventeenth Century Philosopher François de la Rochefoucauld penned the familiar maxim that we all know to be true, “The only thing that is constant in life – is change.” Whether we like it or not, for better and for worse, things change. Sometimes it’s little things, and sometimes it’s big things, even ultimate things. In this week’s Gospel Jesus speaks a word of promise to the disciples whose world is about to dramatically change, a word of promise for us as we face changes, a word that will defy the maxim concerning change; Jesus promises to always be present, to be the one constant in a life filled with changes.

 

The context for this week’s Gospel reading is the Last Supper. Jesus has just announced to his disciples in the preceding chapter that things will be changing, that he will be leaving them, “Little children, I am with you only a little longer.” This of course greatly concerns the disciples. Jesus then speaks these well-known words of comfort and promise, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

 

We tend to associate this well know piece of scripture with memorial services. But today we are reminded that these words were originally spoken, not as words of assurance to those about to die or to those who mourn, but rather as words spoken to those who are just about to experience a great change, those who are about to witness death and resurrection. We are reminded that the promises of God are not just concerned with life after death but with life right here, right now.

 

The disciples don’t know it yet but they are about to begin a great new adventure. The spirit is getting ready to descend upon them in a new and powerful way, sending them out into the world to live out the gospel and proclaim the kingdom of God. One chapter in their life is about to end and a new one is about to begin. Jesus speaks these words hoping they will remember them and cling to their promise, as they enter into, work through, and emerge on the other side of the challenging, uncertain, and tumultuous events of Holy Week.

 

The death and resurrection of Jesus is not just a story about eternal life and the promises of heaven, it is primarily a story about this life that we are living now, it is a story we can embrace in the midst of change, in the midst of the unknown, in the face of whatever it is that might be coming next. It’s a story that invites us to trust in the pattern of death and resurrection, in the constant presence of God, even and especially, in the midst of change. God, in the life and death of Jesus, has prepared a place for us, a place where we will be able to live out the gospel promise and the life of the kingdom. Heaven is for real, right here and right now! Wherever it is that you find yourself, whatever the circumstances, no matter what changes you are experiencing, be assured of this constant; you are not alone, God is with you; and that there is good work for you to do, the good work of the kingdom, the good work of grace and love, a great opportunity to live out the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.” Amen.

 

      1. Be Strong And Courageous

 

Be strong and courageous, all the days of your life
For the Lord has promised to stand by you, day and night
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed
For the Lord your God is with you along the narrow way

 

Stay in the holy word, keep it deep in your soul
Meditate upon it and you will know where to go
The place God has prepared for you

 

Be strong and courageous, all the days of your life
For the Lord has promised to stand by you, day and night
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed
For the Lord your God is with you along the narrow way

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind
In service to others, your dream becomes alive
The place God has prepared for you

 

Be strong and courageous, all the days of your life
For the Lord has promised to stand by you, day and night
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed
For the Lord your God is with you along the narrow way
Amen
Amen

 

 

If you like this devotion please share it with others via the Facebook button at the bottom of this page! This week’s song, albums, and other songs by Greg, are available on Bandcamp! Get the music free! Greg’s music is listed for “name your own price.” Just choose $0, and download the song or album.

https://gregronning.bandcamp.com/album/sweet-holy-love

 

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