May 5, 2002

John 14:15-21

If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

"I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you're going to see me because I am alive and you're about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I'm in my Father, and you're in me, and I'm in you.

"The person who knows my commandments and keeps them that's who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him."

<The Message>


1. Commandments are interesting things. They are at once both internal and external. One can keep a commandment as though it were one's own. One can know about Jesus' commandments to every jot and tittle, to every dotted "i" and crossed "t". They are both innate and resistible. One can even keep that which one does not want to do. One can even refrain from doing what one knows to do.

Which do you take to be Jesus' commandment: "Love your enemy, do good to those who persecute you" or "Anyone who refuses to listen to the church must be treated like an unbeliever or a tax collector."

2. There is a lot of talk here about being "in." What does it mean that the "godless world" can't take in the "Spirit of Truth"? It may have something to do with the way in which our cultures and traditions tend to tribalize us according to our differences. Into this stratification comes an interesting image of the orphan. Orphans are different. They are an opportunity to break out of tribal thinking. How might we claim our orphanhood within the world to break tribal thinking? When we know that we are not really orphans but the forerunners of a new heaven and a new earth based upon our common relationship to GOD, not our worldly tribal identity?

May you know that you are and are not an orphan and in what way you are which.

3. Being an orphan can happen late in life as well as early. How do you think a young orphan differs from an older orphan? It sounds as if this is being directed toward those soon to be orphaned who have some experience of faith and will be able to see beyond that. It must be difficult for those who wake up to find their expected grounding missing. Is the journey of faith always toward that of being an orphan (being weak in the world's eyes, but secure in knowing where life really lies)?

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