When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
Today I will gather with members of this wonderful parish to talk about merging two services and finding ways to join together what was once separate. We have come to a place where we need to do this as they move to calling a new rector, but change is hard. Change is hard for us all. We just wish things could stay the way they were when they were comfortable and familiar, when we had everything just as we needed it. We are human and human beings get rattled and confused when things change so rapidly. Sometimes we turn away, give up or turn back.
Jesus is talking about very challenging things to his disciples. The days ahead of them will be very hard. His life on earth is coming to an end. Some get angry and walk away. They don't want to hear it. Others argue and get angry. They want the miracles and the food, the crowds and the acknowledgment. They never wanted suffering, pain and challenge. Peter, on the other hand, recognizes that, because of Jesus, he has changed. He understands that Jesus is from God, and that they are part of the eternal through him. Love demands he stays with Jesus, love tethers him to God through Christ.
Today I ask God for strength to face the changes ahead. May we who tremble as we walk into unknown places and unfamiliar plans, take heart that God is with us. We belong to God, beloved and chosen. We do not need to fear for we have been called by God and we are never alone no matter how big the challenges, no matter how rough the going might be. May we God grant us the ability to be strong for the weak and calm for the frightened as we go forth today.