- Acts 7:55-60
- Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
- 1 Peter 2:2-10
- John 14:1-14
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises his eternal presence will be with them. However, “to believe” (v. 1) involves committing the whole self to the care of God. If Jesus goes to prepare a dwelling place for them “in my Father’s house” (v. 2), there will be room for all of them.
Just where are we headed? It is the prayer of a faithful Christian trying to make sense of things. Do we let Christ guide us through life and point us to the ultimate victory that is ours in eternity? God has a place for us. These words have often been of great comfort when read during the Burial Service, it being one of the choices for the gospel reading. One day we will be securely at home with God for all time. But here is even more joyful news: not only will we be in that home then, we are invited to live in that home now.
As First Peter reminds us, we are a holy people, called to proclaim the one who called us out of darkness into light. In words and deeds we bear witness to the risen Christ – our way, our truth, our life.
God of many rooms prepared for those who put their trust in you before their journey’s done – where is my heartway home?
I ask for your help. I ask for you to calm the troubled chambers of my heart with your gentle knowing that I’m afraid to trust. Sweep clear my unmet expectations of how truth ought to be for me: a sight I see as proof my trust is safe. Prepare in me, I pray, the place where I can free my deepest fear of being left afraid to trust again the love I one time knew. For when I come to trust your love again, I’ll find my heartway home. (Maren C. Tirabassi & Joan Gordon Grant, An Improbable Gift of Blessing 1998: United Church Press)
Encounter the text: Draw a floor plan of a house in which you have been very happy that has know caring and tenderness. This might be a current home, a childhood home, a grandparent’s home, or a friend’s home. Label rooms and draw in the furniture. Take time to describe the home to another person in loving detail. Read John 14:1-3 and reflect on God’s house, not as a vast labyrinth for many people (or a place that keeps certain people away from one another!) or as an interfaith afterlife, but as a network of beloved homes.
- To what place do you go when your heart is troubled?
- What kind of room do you think God prepares for you?
- How does falling in love with God happen?
- Where does your living stone fit in God’s spiritual house?
- What is the wonderful light of your life?
- Where do you ask for help in time of trouble?
- What smile saved you from distress?
On a personal note, this was the Gospel reading at my mother’s memorial service at which I preached. You can read my thoughts in Rooms Filled with Love.