There are things I heard and believed in my youth that I see quite differently from this high up the mountain on life’s journey.
Take some sound bites (as often employed)) from the passage set for the fifth Sunday of Easter – John 14:1-14 – part of the monologue presented as Jesus’ final conversation with his disciples! Just three will do for now:
- In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places… I go to prepare a place for you … (verses 2,3)
Frequently quoted at funeral services, sometimes offering an assured view of the afterlife beyond the present experience of those now living.
- Jesus said … “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (verse 6)
Often used as a slam-dunk defense against views that question a narrow perspective on personal salvation.
- I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. (verses 13,14)
A frequently heard admonishment for persistence in prayer that raises expectations that are sometimes naive and superficial.
Further up the mountain, we see that this passage appears on the calendar that celebrates the Christian story as told near the culmination of the pilgrims’ 100 day journey that begins high on the Mount of Transfiguration, and climaxes at the celebration of the feast of Pentecost. The whole journey is bathed in the Christian experience of union with Christ, hence the frequent references to the Gospel according to John.
- In union with Christ, the “dwelling places” are always now, no matter what. This is an eternal truth.
- The Christ who dwells within and who is always accessible to those who are fully awake and receptive daily reveals the way. the truth and the life as we negotiate and transact our life relationships.
- The Christ who dwells within prays our prayers – we cannot ask for that which is not in line with what is “in his name” or character. Prayer is a relationship rather than a shopping list.
It is no accident that this passage follows closely on the Good Shepherd passage (John 10) from the previous Sunday. Again, when we have the eyes to see, we can see this truth in places we have never dreamed of looking before. When we have the ears to hear, the most simple and mundane conversations carry its depth.