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Sunday, October 11, 2015
Today’s Reading | John 14:6–14
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
When I was a ministry intern at a residential retirement community, my supervising chaplain once told me that endings are important for beginnings.
In accompanying people through their grief over the loss of loved ones, he had observed that those who had experienced end-of-life closure in their significant relationships were more emotionally capable of opening themselves to new relationships in the future than those who have not experienced such closure.
Whenever I read John 14, I am reminded of this wisdom. In this chapter, Jesus speaks to his disciples of the time when he will no longer be with them. He gives a farewell speech, and in this speech he tells them everything they will need for moving on despite their grief. He offers them closure.
Jesus tells them two things in particular. First, repeatedly pointing beyond himself to God, he wants them to know that they are all part of something bigger than themselves. Just as Jesus abides in the Father and the Father in him, the same is true for all of them. Second, Jesus gives them a mission to carry out, and in fact he says to them in verse 12, “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” In his farewell address, Jesus tells his disciples that they have work to do and that, in fact, they will accomplish greater things than he has accomplished because his disciples will work long after he is gone.
In his farewell address, Jesus offers his disciples everything they need, not only to prepare for the end of his life, but to prepare for a new beginning—the beginning of the church.
Father in heaven, I give you thanks for your Son, Jesus Christ, who in birth and death has prepared us for new beginnings. In his name I pray. Amen.
Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life
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