Jesus said, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” John 16:16-33
I plan to spend some time in the garden, getting things ready for planting and imagining what we can grow this year. We don't have a lot of space, and less with good sunlight, but I try to have a garden where ever we are. It's a small thing to do, to dig in the dirt, planting and tending, helping things to grow. I will not go out and protest or make a statement. Instead, in my very small way I will stand and encourage life, reusing, composting and nurturing this living space, this planet earth, our mother and our island home. The seeds I will plant are not just for beauty and food, but for the soil and the birds, and the other living things that love to eat our vegetable leaves. We share this place, all of us, and it takes great courage to love every bit of it and care for it as family.
Jesus is trying to help his disciples prepare for a life without him. Every day he has been teaching them by words and example. He has taught them to love the least among them, to be light for the world, to be strength in the face of greed and persecution. It has become normal for them to have the teacher with them and to rely completely on him. Now, they will have to use the muscles, the hearts and the love he has instilled in them. They will face great danger. Most of it, as it is for us, is our own fear and anxiety. He calls us all to have courage, we do not have to be in charge, He has conquered the world and we are never alone.
Today I ask God to help me rely on the loving Conqueror for all my needs. May we be caretakers together of the planet and the people who are in our care. May we build up and restore. And may we be courageous as we to stand in up to the presence of greed, abuse and waste in our world today.