One of the most repeated statements in the Bible is the call not to be afraid. Yet amid life’s many challenges, we often struggle to heed this call.
Jesus knows the disciples are worried. When he tells them, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he is recognizing and naming what the disciples are feeling and experiencing.
Scripture reveals time and time again a God who knows that we are afraid, acknowledges fear and worry as a part of our human experience, and offers us a way to move forward.
Jesus invites the disciples to place their trust in God’s goodness. He tells them, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). In Jesus, we can discover more deeply that God is love, compassion, humility, forgiveness, healing, gentleness, and kindness. Jesus wants us to realize that God is a reliable, tender, and safe place to face our deepest fears.
Jesus reassures the disciples that in God’s house there is enough room for everyone. God’s loving nature extends not just to other people, but specifically to you and to me. So often we live worried and afraid because we see our lives through lenses of scarcity. Jesus invites us to live with an outlook of hope and abundance.
Finally, Jesus promises the disciples that he will come back to take them where he is. Our relationship with God is not a one-way journey; we are not fighting our way to God. God continually offers us generosity and abundant love. We are invited to trust more deeply that God’s guidance, companionship, and love seek to find us even at this very moment.
My Creator, you know the things that trouble me at this very moment. Help me to trust in your goodness, generosity, and faithfulness. Help me to trust in your abundant love. Amen.
The first three readings for the week contain variations on the imagery of stones or rocks. In Acts, Stephen is killed as the first Christian martyr by being stoned to death, while Saul (Paul) stands by and approves. The psalmist proclaims his confidence in the Lord, whom he describes as his rock and fortress. Peter tells the believers that they have become living stones in the household of God because of their connection to the chief Cornerstone, Christ. In John, Jesus makes an explicit claim to being the only way to God. In our current cultural context, many wonder about the spiritual status of followers of other religions. Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 invites us to deep reflection on this important question.
Read Acts 7:55-60. Recall a time when you have seen God’s power in action. How was God’s power different than you might have expected?
Read Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16. Contemplate your answers to the author’s questions. How do the psalmist’s hope and experiences reflect your own?
Read 1 Peter 2:2-10. When have you experienced God as a loving Mother? When has Christ been your cornerstone?
Read John 14:1-14. How do you experience God’s presence through the life or actions of others?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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