Reflection on 6th Sunday of Easter: 17th May 2020

Love is His Meaning

Where are you going? Can we go? Who will stay with us?

Today’s gospel passage is part of a larger text known as the Farewell Discourse, (John Ch14-16), and it is Jesus’ goodbye speech to his disciples. The preacher Fred Craddock captures today’s scene in a memorable image, likening the disciples to children playing on the floor, who happen to look up and see their parents putting on coats. Their questions are three (and they have not changed): Where are you going? Can we go? Then who is going to stay with us? [1] No doubt the disciples found it difficult to understand Jesus’ words. Even with our gift of hindsight we struggle when he talks about leaving and coming, absence and presence, seeing and not seeing. It is only when with love we hold these realities together in tension that we will experience that paradoxically they are not mutually exclusive. [2]

In her song ‘Love Always’ Carrie Newcomer sings:
It takes some starts and stops to hold a paradox.
I keep trying to understand, and to hold it in both hands
How to know what can’t be done and still envision all that can.

That ‘starting and stopping’ involves a willingness to be open to a constant dislodging of our perception of Love. It involves a growing awareness that our actions do not earn us God’s love: they help make us present to the eternal, unconditional loving presence of God within us. It involves being at the correct starting point. We are familiar with the story of the traveller who stopped to ask someone the directions to his destination. “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here,” was the reply.

Jesus’ starting point was his awareness that ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me.’ (John 14:11 ) The Spirit of Truth abiding in us will help us grow in awareness of our abiding in God who is Love. Love is who we are. When we get the ‘who’ right and realise that who I am is Love, then we will love God and love all that God has created. [3]

Adapted : [1] Kelly Anne Donahue [2] Michael Marsh [3] R.Rohr

John 14: 15- 21

“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 forever. 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.”