Posted by on May 17, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on We Are Called

Welcome, dear friends! I do hope you are all doing well in this very “different” time in our
current year of 2020. I, like you, are hoping that this separation will soon disappear and we
can worship in person together again.

Let us open with prayer. Dear Lord…thank you for the opportunity to again be together through
sharing of your words to us. We ask your blessing and strength to those who are caring for our
friends and family in nursing homes and hospitals. We ask your protection for them as they are
trying stay well and not be affected by the virus. Please protect our firemen, policemen and
emergency workers as they continue to protect us when danger threatens us. Be with our teachers
and their students as they work to complete a very different school year and look to the future.
Bless us in our worship this morning that we may hear your word to each one of us as we work
to be your disciples here on earth. Amen.

The gospel for this Sunday, which is the 6th Sunday of Easter, is from John 14:15-21. This
passage is coming immediately after the passage we considered last Sunday. As a reminder, last
week we saw Jesus comforting his disciples in the upper room where they were staying away
from the issues going on during the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.

Jesus had just explained to his eleven disciples that He and the Father are one. He was preparing
all of them for what they would experience with his crucifixion and his resurrection, as well as
His ascension into heaven. Through the answers to the questions and comments by Philip and
Thomas, Jesus was giving them all a lesson that they would remember only after the
resurrection. Then, they would remember what He had said as they were going out to be His
disciples.

In today’s passage, Jesus is telling the disciples that the Father will give them another Advocate
that would never leave them. Jesus is also implicitly telling the disciples that he, too, is an
advocate for them and knows he will be leaving them.

This Advocate is called the Spirit of Truth that will live in them…as they are followers of God
and part of God’s family. In reality, this is the coming of the Trinity to all. This Advocate will
be a comforter, a counselor and will be a counsel for defense because the world does not know
Jesus.

This concept is unique to the gospel of John. John has been the disciple who has been with Jesus
since the very first call He has observed and has been part of all the healings and miracles Jesus
has performed. He was present at the cross when Jesus was crucified and accepted Mary, Jesus
mother, as his mother to care for. John is relating to us how Jesus worked with and inspired the
disciples to continue the ministry of Jesus, the Truth, as they carried out their ministry to the
world.

In reality, Jesus is saying that the disciples will show their devotion to Jesus and his teachings
through following His commandments. Jesus assures the disciples He will not leave them as
orphaned as He says He will be with them after the resurrection. He was with the disciples for
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40 days after His resurrection. He also says that no one but His followers will see him after the
resurrection. He walked with the two men on the road to Emmaus, who were believers, and
understood what Jesus was teaching them. He appeared to the women at the tomb, who were his
disciples, as well as to all those disciples in the upper room. He IS with his followers all the
time.

Jesus also assures the disciples that because He lives, they, too will live as He will be living
within them. They will come to the realization that Jesus and the Father are one and that they are
part of this Family of God. It is also possible that Jesus is referring to the day when, after his
ascension, the followers will be given the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Within these verses, Jesus has subtly challenged the disciples and us to keep close to Christ
through obedience to his commandments and to help continue His ministry here on earth. He is
also quietly emphasized that there is a difference between the disciples and the world. The
difference….keeping His commandments and spreading the truth of Jesus.

We are facing fairly uncertain times here right now, aren’t we? How will things look when we
are again able to move about more freely in our world? What changes will we see in those
things we considered important 50 plus days ago. Will there be a different set of things we
value?

In a way, we are not unlike the 11 disciples we know were listening to Jesus in this passage. We
are staying fairly isolated…due to a potential danger and not wanting to possibly harm others,
health-wise. Few of us are used to this type of living arrangement and it’s beginning to “wear”
on all of us.

That is why these words of Jesus are so comforting….He will NOT leave us or forsake us. He
has given us the Spirit to comfort and to lead us. And, as with the disciples, He has given us the
job to spread the Truth of Jesus to the world…as His disciples. Even with all we are living
through right now, Jesus IS with us.

I heard a choir singing the following song last week. Allow me to read the words to the hymn as
I think it is a good one for us to consider as we find what God wants us to do and to be in His
world.

“Come to the light! Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord! We are called to be the light for the kingdom to live in the freedom of the city of God.”

“Come! Open your heart! Show your mercy to all those I fear! We are called to be hope for the hopeless so all hatred and blindness will be no more.”

“Sing! Sing a new song! Sing of that great day when all will be one! God will reign and we’ll walk with each other as sisters and brothers united in love!”

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“We are called to act with justice. We are called to love tenderly. We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.”

Jesus called His disciples to serve one another and spread the Truth. He calls us to the same
thing. How are we going to walk with God? How are we going to serve one another? Can we
love everyone as sister and brother? Are we being challenged by God to look at the things that
REALLY matter and shift our consideration of what is most important in our lives?

We are called. Jesus assured the disciples and us that we are not alone. He will not leave us
alone. He told the disciples that he and the Father are One and that the Advocate would be sent
to help us in our mission to God’s people.

Thank you, dear Lord, for the assurance that you are always with your followers, your disciples.
Thank you for sending the Spirit to help teach and guide us, to show us the moments in our life
that exhibit that you are here and that you need us to love and care for others. We ARE called to
be your people, dear Lord. Be with us as we work to act with justice, to love your people and
serve one another. Amen.

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