Sunday Readings: Acts 15.1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21.10-14, 22-23; John 14.23-29
These things I have told you while I am still with you. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and help you remember all that I told you. Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or fearful (John 14.25-27).
Israel’s wisdom writings insist God is knowable in creation. Wisdom begins in awe and wonder. Wisdom is always looking for a home, a dwelling place among the human race. Wisdom finds a home in Israel and wherever people recognize that creation comes from the hand of God. The Wisdom of Solomon says human knowledge or wisdom is “a spotless mirror of the workings of God “ (7.26).
In Jesus God comes among us as one of us. Jesus mirrors in his words and deeds who God is, just as wisdom mirrors the creator. In his farewell, Jesus promises his community of followers that his Spirit will stay with them, help them live his teachings, and love and serve one another as he has done. Jesus’ love for his friends unites them with him and his Father, brings peace, eases fear.
Jesus comes as a friend, an equal who does not exempt himself from the conditions of human life but lives them to the end, facing death on the cross at the hands of empire. By the time Jesus takes his leave, where he lives is clear. Wherever his friends lay down their lives for one another as he is about to on the cross. Wherever they serve one another humbly as he has done rather than lord or lady it over one another like earthly leaders. Where his friends love one another, they reveal God as Jesus does. They continue his work in the world.
Friendship is a joyful, free attraction, a delight in each others’ company. Common vision brings friends together. The love of friends always has room for more; it is an inclusive love, mutual, reciprocal. Friends are not dependent on each other but are responsible to each other. Friends trust each other. Betrayal is the way we sin against a friend. Sharing a meal and conversation are common activities of friends. To invite people to eat is to invite them to share something of one’s own with them. The Spirit befriends us from within and lives within us, breath by breath, as companion and advocate.
What best describes your relationship with Jesus—friend, disciple, follower, servant?