Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ
Companion and guide
Help us to hear
To rest in your guidance
And be awake to your Spirit
Who makes your home in us
To know your Spirit
As we are known.
Season of Easter: Sixth Sunday
The lectionary guide takes us into an upstairs room in a house in Jerusalem. As we enter Jesus is in conversation with his followers. He is offering them spiritual direction, giving them a spiritual map to help them find their way through the dark days of his arrest, trial, and crucifixion, and the dark nights of loss and absence. The map also points to the road which leads from the empty tomb and Jesus’ return to life to his second leaving.
Second leaving? Earlier in this intimate conversation, his followers wonder what he is saying, and ask about that road: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5) Jesus replies simply: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” The road runs through me. I am the road. I am the One who makes God known to you. I am the way to God. This is no ordinary map—it is a map for the heart.
But the map Jesus offers also points to some events on the way. After he has left to be with Abba, “I will ask Abba, and he will give you another Advocate (Helper) to be with you forever.” No more leaving, no more separation or abandonment. This Helper is the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, whom the world’s system does not and cannot know. But this Helper, this Spirit sent from God, we will know because this Helper sent by Jesus takes up residence with us, and will be in us. God is now into home-making – within us who follow Jesus. This is no austere presence who walks the interior our soul space, wearing white gloves and checking on all that is out of order, and calling us to task because our ways of keeping house are not acceptable to this heavenly resident. Rather, this Spirit helps us to know God, helps us to be aware and hospitable as God is revealed to us. This is a place of love, love which weaves the relationship as we learn to hear and follow Jesus in all of life. Out of that daily interaction and learning Jesus says “you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”
This conversation, this map which Jesus offers, also alerts us to the coming of the Holy Spirit. The map has led us to the sixth week after Easter, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is helping us look even further on the map–to his ascension, and then on past this “second leaving” to Pentecost, the day when we mark and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to live in us and among us, to make God’s home with and within us (John 14:17, 23).
We may not feel comfortable looking at this map Jesus offers. In the last five or six decades the Holy Spirit has received a lot of “bad press” – due to our lack of comfort with God coming so close, to many doubts in our modern, scientific, rationally constructed world order which gives no space to spiritual realities. We have learned to function without embracing the presence of the Spirit – even in the Church. But to our poverty.
Thus Jesus invites us to sit with him and his followers in this upstairs room, and to listen to what he saying, to look at the map he is offering. As those early disciples ask their questions, bring questions of your own into your conversation with Jesus. Then listen for how Jesus responds to you.
Stay with the verses in this reading which describe the coming and the work of this heavenly home-maker, this Helper. Allow their truth to carry light and comfort into the shadowy and possible anxious corners of your soul.
What would you like to say to the Holy Spirit – this kind and gracious member of the Trinity, this One who comes to Help, to create a sense of home and community within?
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Season of Easter: Sixth Sunday
5/16 Monday: John 14:15-17
5/17 Tuesday: John 14:18-21
5/18 Wednesday: Psalm 66:8-20
5/19 Thursday: Acts 17:22-31
5/20 Friday: 1 Peter 3:13-22
5/21 Saturday: John 14:15-17
5/22 Sunday: John 14:18-21