Read John 14 First

Notes from the pastor


Read John 14 First!

Normally, we hear Jesus’s words in John 14 read and preached at funerals because it strikes us first as a future promise.  However, I’ve come to read this passage also as the triune God’s gracious promise of love for us in the present. Jesus tells his disciples to trust in God because the Father’s household has room to spare, and in fact, room for everyone who comes to know and to love Jesus by taking up our crosses and following him.  He says the only way to experience what it means to belong to our heavenly Father is to follow Christ into the world as the Holy Spirit fills us with his mercy and compassion.

The love I have come to know in Christ and through the Holy Spirit is a love that makes room for people from all walks of life to come into the Father’s household and discover their true identity as God’s sons and daughters.  Of course, I don’t mean a literal house (or “mansion” as the King Jimmy puts it), but a community of belonging rooted in our shared faith.

Consistently, the Scriptures describe God’s nature as gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and willing not to punish. God’s household of mercy and belonging expands ceaselessly to include, or house, those whom Christ draws to himself. Through the power and companionship of the Holy Spirit, the triune God has made room for many people to know the holy promise of having a place in God’s family and at his table.

What a vision for life!  God has chosen to share an incredible bond of love that creates endless space for everyone to find their place in God’s radical, ever-growing family.  The love we lavish on one another is how we love God. This is what it means to be the church.

I wonder who God has placed in your life that is in need of space and belonging?  How might you reach out to them and practice radical hospitality?  Who needs space to worship, to eat, to be heard, to express themselves, or to be loved?  As it turns out, according to John, making space for the least and the last may be the deepest expression of Christ we can give in this world.                             

    ~  Patrick Murphy

Last Published: August 2, 2016 2:46 PM
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