Paul’s message to the Athenians
Bless our God, you people; let the sound of praise be heard. (Ps. 66:8)
1 Peter 3:13-22
The days of Noah, a sign of baptism
Christ, our advocate
Many life experiences can leave us feeling orphaned or abandoned. Family can ease that feeling but also magnify it if our family relationships are strained or if our families live far away. Think of those in your congregation who count deployed soldiers among their loved ones in recent years or construction workers and tradesmen who need to live in hotels far away from their families to keep making money for their families in the current challenging economy. The Internet, webcams, Skype, and social networking can link people across the miles. Still, it can further aggravate loneliness and isolation when these substitute for real intimacy in our highly connected world. How do we experience this loneliness and this longing for home and belonging? How does Jesus’ promise that he will not leave us orphaned speak to these real-life concerns?
When Jesus makes this string of promises in John 14, saying that he will remain with us in the Holy Spirit as our Advocate, it’s hard to envision how this support comes to us sometimes. When we do not see or hear those we love, the simple gifts Jesus offers in body and blood, bread and wine shared with actual warm neighbors, have great power. Even when life keeps delivering bad news about how far apart we are from one another and how broken our relationships are, “I will not leave you orphaned” is the godly reassurance that we are not alone.