A Ruby kindles in the vine, 1905, 1912 Adelaide Hanscom, 1875-1931 via Wikimedia Commons
[Jesus said to his disciples:] “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” John 14:20
Jesus, the vine that gives us life, is in us and we are in him. We are forever entwined with God, with God’s love and grace and goodness and compassion. We breathe with God, live with God, move with God, love with God.
We are the visible fruit of God’s healing and peace in the world. We are the trusted servants of God, trusted to forgive, show mercy, and practice non-violence. We are trusted to build up those who are broken, fragile, discouraged, poor, homeless, and suffering. We are trusted to bring the hope of the Resurrection and God’s eternal love to all those we encounter.
[Jesus said to his disciples:] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” John 14:1
With all the natural disasters, wars, abuse, cruelty, greed, illness, poverty, and loneliness in the world, sometimes my heart is troubled.
Yet if I have faith in in the pure, unconditional love and goodness of God, then I need to invite Jesus, the Compassion of God, to be my companion. I need to have faith that his example will show me the Way through the messy human condition. I need to have faith in the Truth of God’s mercy and forgiveness. I need to have faith in the gift of LIfe eternal.
Early christian image of Christ as the Good Shepherd Fourth Century A.D. Museo Epigrafico, Rome
[The shepherd] walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. John 10:4
We follow Jesus into quiet, secluded places to pray. We follow Jesus to dine with the poor and the outcasts of society. We follow Jesus to touch those with untouchable illnesses. We follow Jesus to wash the feet of others. We follow Jesus to forgive those who betray us. We follow Jesus to love our enemies. We follow Jesus to do the will of God, however counter-cultural it may seem. We follow Jesus to die to ourselves and rise to new life.
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) Two Disciples at the Tomb, ca.1906 oil on canvas Art Institute of Chicago via Wikimedia Commons
When Simon Peter arrived after [the other disciple], he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. John 20:6-7
I imagine Jesus chuckling as he neatly rolls the cloth that had covered his head and leaves it conspicuously separate from the other burial cloths. He knows his disciples are in for a big surprise. And he knows they will be puzzled, dismayed—and hopeful.
The resurrection of Jesus always points me to hope. Hope in change. Hope in the unknown. Hope in God’s gentle guidance and infinite love.