Maybe you saw the story on the news today of a woman who was on a cruise to the Bahamas with her family. The ship was in Nassau and the departure time was 5:30 in the afternoon. No one is quite sure what happened but this woman wasn’t on board in time. Her husband got off to look for her, and when he did not return the ship left on schedule. The problem was their two children, ages 9 and 12, were on board. Someone recorded a video of this mother falling to her knees on the dock, watching in despair as the ship pulls away from the dock. This video was uploaded to the web, which is how the news media heard about it.
Everything turned out all right. The children’s uncle was there on board with them. And the parents were able to make other travel arrangements to get on board the ship at the next port of call. Even so, it sounds like every parent’s nightmare to be pulled apart from your children, not knowing what is going to happen next, and there is nothing you can do about it.
In John, chapters 14, 15 and 16, we find what is sometimes called Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. The setting is the Last Supper and Jesus is giving some final instructions before he is arrested and then crucified. In John 14:18 he says to his disciples, “I will not leave you orphaned…” I thought of this verse as I watched this news story about this mother on the dock watching the ship pulling away. The disciples must have had shared some of her feelings. This is not what we had planned. Things are out of control. What in the world do we do now?
But Jesus reassures them that everything is under control. They will not be orphaned or abandoned. My sermon for this week is on John 14:23-29, where Jesus tries to comfort them and promises that he will be with them. The title is “Still Beside Us.” We also will have a baptism at the first service and the Chancel Choir will be singing.
The May issue of the First Press is available. You may download it by clicking here or pick up a paper copy at various locations around the church building.
Stay in One Peace,