Monday, April 25, 2011
Make a Home with Them
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. 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. John 14:15-31
"There's no place like home, there's no place like home." Dorothy Gale finds and end to her epic journey in a strange land by clicking her ruby slippered heels together and repeating this phrase. She learns that home is where love resides, where others care for her and keep her safe. Not every home is safe - we know this all too well, and too many children and adults are victims of horrible atrocities in their own home. Hurting children often become hurtful adults and repeat the cycle of abuse. Home, in Dorothy's situation is an isolated but loving farm community. They loved her just as she was, and wanted the best for her. Real homes are places where people thrive, where love is reciprocated and where adults behave as adults and children are allowed to be children.
Jesus talks to his disciples about going away and sending the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen them. He promises that wherever they are he will come and make a home with them - a place where people thrive and are loved, a place where safety, compassion and tenderness are the rule of the day. The disciples lived in a world of great threat and hostility and in the days after the Resurrection feared for their lives and their families lives. This promise from Jesus was held close in those early days, and they reminded one another of God's promise to dwell with them in their most intimate spaces, their homes.
Today, like the disciples of old, I want to cling to that promise that, in these early days of a new home for us, God promises to come to dwell, helping us thrive and know love and safety all our days. New (even in an old place) can threaten to be scary and unsafe. Old hostilities can threaten. And today I stand on the promise of God's presence in all of our lives - love which banishes cruelty and shame and which welcome love, compassion and kindness all of our days.