Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
To hear your voice
To listen deeply to your word.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice,
To follow you in all of life,
In the way of God’s gracious reality.
Season of Easter, Week Six
As we walk further into the season of Easter, the lectionary readings lead us into the greater reality of God’s great and gracious realm. First, here on earth, among and within us; and second, the great realm of God when God makes all things new and lives among us – and we with God. The first is a foretaste of the second, and both have been birthed into being by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
How do we live in the reality of God’s Greater Reality? Especially as we live here, in the constricted and distorted so-called reality of this world?
Jesus offers us guidance. As we indwell the gospel passage this week, we hear him inviting our attention to how we listen to what he says; what we love we pay attention to. Whom we love, we listen to. “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father/Abba will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”(John 14:23) Jesus reveals that here, at this time—within and among us–God takes up home -making. This home-making is shaped by a loving listening: we listen deeply to Jesus; Jesus listens deeply to us. There is this interchange of soul which spills over and out into life: the life we live with others in the ecclesia and in the world. The Holy Spirit is the one who comes to help make this home-making a reality within and around us. The “house-keeper” of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit works to help us hear and understand, counsels and guides us, and does the slow and steady work of transformation. God is about working a “complete makeover” within and among us. Such is the way of God’s gracious rule, and the mark of God’s Greater Reality.
In the book of Acts we discover story after story of how the Holy Spirit is at work, bringing this work of God to light among people as they hear the good news of Jesus, listen deeply, and are birthed by the Spirit into the gracious Kingdom of God. Small house churches spring up around the Mediterranean in which new believers come to know themselves as the ecclesia – the ones who are “called out” from the false reality of the world’s system. Here they are learning to live within the gracious realm of God, even as God is working this “complete make-over” within their lives through the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.
The lectionary readings also take us into the final and greater realm of God, where God makes all things new and lives among us. “In the spirit (an angel) carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” There are distant echoes here of another such heavenly transportation—when Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor (Matthew 4;8-10), offering them all to Jesus, if he would bow down and worship the devil. But Jesus ordered Satan to leave, and held to his central love and loyalty: loving God, worshiping and serving only him. Now we, with John, are transported to a high mountain, and are able to see this new heaven and new earth, and all the nations entering in–walking in the light of God who dwells there. Now God’s home is with us. And our home is with God. The is the final, grand, and complete make-over.
It is the Holy Spirit who guides us, who gives us insight into these spiritual realities. And it is the Holy Spirit who comes to help us as we live in this world—bringing Jesus’ words and guidance to mind, and settling our troubled heart into peace, even in the midst of the chaos, terror, and turmoil of life.
This week I invite you to pray the prayer Jesus teaches us, each day. And as you do, ask for the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you notice how this prayer is becoming a reality—how God is making his home within and among us, and how the Holy Spirit is doing her transformative work as we listen and move with the words and life of Jesus.
Our Father, Abba,
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgives us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
(Help us to discern when evil is pulling us aside)
And deliver (rescue) us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom
The power and the glory
Season of Easter: Week Six
4/29 Monday: John 14:23-24
4/30 Tuesday: John 14:25-29
5/1 Wednesday: Psalm 67
5/2 Thursday: Acts 16:9-15
5/3 Friday: Revelation 21:10, 22 – 22:5
5/4 Saturday: John 14:23-24
5/5 Sunday: John 14:25-29