As long-time readers of this blog know, the college sponsors devotionals during certain times of year — most notably Advent and Lent. Members of the college community write and record them, and they’re shared on a local radio station and on the college website.
While in the past, we’ve had one each day of the season, this year we went with a weekly devotional, and this was my week. Here’s what I wrote, and if you’d like to hear me reading it, you can go here.
John 14 (KJV)
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
The 14th chapter of John’s gospel chapter opens as Christ knows His Passion and death are coming all too soon. He tells his disciples that even when he is not physically with them, he is preparing their ultimate destination.
Of course, a destination requires a journey, and a wise traveler relies on some sort of map, some set of directions. Thomas asks Jesus what most of us would see as a sensible question: “How are we supposed to get where we’re going? How can we find our way?” And that brings us back to Jesus’s words. He tells Thomas (and all of us) that He is the way. If we follow Him, we’ll get to where we’re supposed to be.
You’ll notice that he doesn’t tell anyone – not Thomas, not us – that it’s going to be an easy trip. In fact, the trip is sometimes hard and painful. It certainly was for Jesus, and so it was for the disciples, and so it is for all of us during our lives. There’s a reason we often hear parts of this chapter read at funerals, which mark some of our hardest times, the times at which we must say farewell to the people we love and cherish. And we all know there are other pains and struggles as we make our journeys through this world.
In those moments that bring us shadow without the comfort of shade, it may be hard or even impossible to see Christ going before us. But just as we believe in God, Christ tells us, we must believe in Him, and in the knowledge that we need to keep following Him, that this will take us to the place that has long been prepared for us. We will not make the journey alone; Christ promises us that there will be, that there is, cause for comfort and hope even in the darkest steps we take. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life,” he says. We need to follow Him; the journey awaits. “Arise. Let us go hence.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, both road and signpost, as we follow our journey of reconciliation with You. Thank you for the Comforter who carries us forward even when it’s hard to take another step. And thank you for the peace You promise us at the journey’s end. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
This helped me gain perspective on my current problems. God bless St. Smitty.
I’m as far from sainthood as anyone is likely to be, but I’m glad you found it useful.