A reading and a reflection
St John 14: 15 – 31
‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.
Today’s reading begins with “if you love me you will keep my commandments”, this is important because if we keep Jesus’ commandments we are (hopefully) doing it from a place of love and relationship. The disciples have no idea what is going to unfold over the coming days and weeks. We may know, yet we also are reassured that Jesus is ever-living so we can have a relationship with him and we too are gifted with the Holy Spirit who gifts and inspires us as we grow in faith and journey the road of discipleship.
Over the last couple of years I have seen a lot of YouTube videos where folk are getting involved in “disaster prepping” with 72/96 hour emergency bags, long term pantries and emergency kits for their cars/minivans in case they have to flee their homes. The reason I have seen more of this is not because I have become a fan of prepper videos, but because the global pandemic has had such an effect on “regular” people. Most of these videos are from Christian mums who are about my age in normal places in America. The reason they have got involved in this sort of behaviour is because they didn’t feel at all prepared when the pandemic hit the western world in early 2020 and want to ensure that if anything else were to happen they would be better prepared.
Jesus was trying to prepare the disciples, because of the relationship he had with them, so he is trying to ensure they can understand as much as possible, because he loves them and they him. This is the same with us, Jesus loves us and therefore tries to prepare us as much as possible for the next steps on our journey with him. We have to be prepared to listen to him and love the world.
Loving God, thank you for the relationship we have with you and for the Holy Spirit who advises and guides our steps of faith. Remind us that there are many things in life that we will not feel prepared for, but that we can always rely on you in those times. Provoke us to share that love and relationship with others so that they too can experience the joy, comfort and support throughout life. Amen.