Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Orphans No More

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. John 14:18-31

I arrived home last night after a wonderful experience with people who are working on providing Native clergy and leadership across our church. I spent time with others who are trying to prepare themselves in order to serve their people. Each group was trying to make sure everyone had supportive relationships, and a group of people to act as a family together. For so many, who have felt so isolated for so long, and others who have suffered abandonment. My heart was full of joy and hope as I returned home.

Jesus was reassuring and comforting his disciples. One can only suspect that their anxiety over the future and their ministries was quite palpable. They knew they had a lot to learn and were afraid of being tossed out on their own without enough support, without enough direct5ion and without family and friends at their side. They were following Jesus, and they were walking a new way, trying to be faithful amidst overwhelming opposition and misunderstanding. God wants all of us to know that as we step out in faith, we do not step out alone. God is with us and we are part of an extended family so large, we need never feed isolation and abandonment. God's love is there for us in our darkest, most fearful moments.

Today, I ask God to help me step out in faith for the service of others. No matter how tenuous my steps might be, I ask God to hold me up and make me strong, so that I can be support and strength for others. I ask God for compassion and forgiveness so that I might be compassionate and forgiving of everyone I meet today. May we know that selfishness is an anathema to God, and love and relationship are the marks of God's presence. We are invited to walk, one step at a time, we are never, never alone, today or forever.

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