May 20, 2001

John 14:23-29

[Judas has asked a question: "Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not to the world?"]

"Because a loveless world," said Jesus, "is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him--we'll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn't mine. It's the message of the Father who sent me.

"I'm telling you these things while I'm still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way your used to being left--feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught.

"You've heard me tell you, 'I'm going away, and I'm coming back.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I'm on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.

"I've told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me...."

<The Message >


1. We sing, "What a friend we have in Jesus." Being a friend here means such things as "comforter, encourager and defender."

It is a comfort to be told what to expect. It is one of the gifts we give our children, an explanation of expectations. I'm going. I'm coming back. Be glad when the goal of life is achieved. In the middle of all manner of betrayals (notice this is all in response to Judas' question) we can still anticipate all being well again.

It is encouraging to know that our fear of being left, being abandoned, are being dealt with. Even though fearful, we are well and whole. There's a mystery for you.

And so we sing another song,
"O God, our help in ages past,
    our hope for years to come,
       our shelter from the stormy blast,
         and our eternal home!
"Under the shadow of thy throne,
   still may we dwell secure;
      sufficient is thine arm alone,
         and our defense is sure."

2. These qualities remind me of a multi-grade, one-room school. Where we anticipate what we will be learning, we learn, and we deepen our learning through review. In this process we are comforted ahead of time as we see others learning, we are encouraged to learn, and we find ourselves defended by having learned how to learn.

Thank you, Mrs. McCluskey, for grades 1-5.

3. As long as we started with song here is one to end with. It is Number 350 in the United Methodist Book of Hymns, "Come, All of You."

Stanza three begins,
"Come, all of you, come, trouble-minded, come forward,
   I will give you peace, the peaceful mind."

If you are interested in stretching beyond the standard approach to this scripture you might find these three audio cassette courses to be helpful -
The Singing Cure, by Paul Newham
The Present Moment, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Original Prayer, by Neil Douglas-Klotz

I like one of Malvina Reynold's song, "Singing Jesus." I wonder if he sang his response to Judas or if it was done in what we would think of as lecture style. How would you sing peace to the disciples of long ago? and to the disciples of today? and to those who may become disciples through your song?

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