The Rev. Melissa Hollerith
Again he said to them, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone. (John 8:29)
The veil between this world and the next one, our eternal home, is thin to me these days. I haven’t contemplated my mortality, or the mortality of those I love dearly, in a long time, not since the loss of my dad seven years ago. Moments like the one we are in now offer us the unexpected gift of time for contemplation and reflection, and along with that, the chance for realignment if need be.
During this time we can ask ourselves the important questions that we may have put off thinking about when our lives were running on autopilot. Questions like: Do all the people I love know how much I love them? Are there people I need to make amends with, forgive, or ask forgiveness of? How can I live more gratefully?
I think when we begin to do this, a better person will begin to emerge; maybe someone we haven’t seen in a long time.
Everyone responds differently in a crisis. There are the doers, those who are actively helping on the frontlines. Thank God. There are those trying to do their part by staying home. There are those just trying to survive homeschooling. There are those who are terrified and for good reason. No matter where we find ourselves on the continuum, this moment gives us the chance to draw closer to Christ, with true self-examination, and amendment of life, and in doing so, to find ourselves changed for the better.
In the reading from John today, Jesus makes it clear where He came from, that the words He shares are from above, and that He is not alone. And guess what? Neither are we. We are not alone. He is always with us. When we are afraid, we must remember Jesus was too in the Garden of Gethsemane, and what carried him through His fear was prayer and the knowledge He knew He was not alone. So during these difficult days, hold fast to that truth and be comforted. As the old hymn says:
Hallelujah! not as orphans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Hallelujah! He is near us,
Faith believes, nor questions how.
Thou the clouds from sight received Him
When the forty days were o’er
Shall our hearts forget His promise,
“I am with you evermore”?
Come Down, O Love Divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing. Amen.
(Blanco de Siena)