Mother Vivian Shelby – Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 14, 2023
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
“And I will reveal myself to you,” is what Jesus says. Now, he is instructing and trying to comfort the disciples. They still don’t really understand what this “in between” time is all about. But he says, “Just keep my commandments and I am going to ask for an advocate for you. And the Father will send that.” So as Jesus ascends he says, “The Advocate will come down and be with us forever, the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will provide the truth.” So even though they were losing Jesus bodily, we were gaining something new: this wisdom from the Holy Spirit that was going to be accessible to us all the time. So this is the “in between” time for them In between his resurrection and when he comes again.
This reminds me of what we say at our funeral services when we say, “life is changed, not ended.” And that’s what’s happening here. Jesus died, he was resurrected so he’s different, changed but not gone. And then he is going ascend to the Father and not be with them bodily anymore, but he’s sending the Holy Spirit. And he says “That is what you will have with you during this time. I’ll still be with you, the Father will still be with you from heaven. But the Holy Spirit will abide in you.” Such a comforting thing.
But it’s also then the disciples job to be the hands, feet, eyes, ears of Jesus on earth. To wake up the rest of the world to the reality of the love that God has for us. So all we have to do is follow his commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your mind with all your strength with all your soul. And love your neighbor as yourself. You have to follow them and love people. Seems pretty simple. But we know it is very difficult, because we are human beings.
The only way we have hope of actually fulfilling what Jesus gave us to do, is to have a deep, abiding relationship with the Trinity, and with Scripture and with each other. A deep relationship. So that when we stray or get distracted, we can come back to center. Repent and return, we’re good. It will be a cycle for us for the rest of our lives. So this is where we find ourselves this morning as we woke up, in this in between time, where Jesus is ascended but he has not come back. So we are very much supposed to be living the way this gospel describes. It is a call to us even though it is an ancient, ancient scripture. Do we struggle with staying in contact with Jesus? You heard one of the children said, “He’s not at my house. How can I have lemonade with him?” Yes he is! Yes he is.
But we get distracted. So many things to distract us from God, right? So it’s like this. I need you to picture an old library in a mansion. Now this is a comfort place for me. You can do whatever you want with it once you leave. Tall ceilings, wood beams, books everywhere and two huge comfortable wing chairs with a little table in front of a fireplace. You got it? Like a study. And you’re sitting there having coffee and Jesus is sitting in the other chair. And he’s having coffee with you. It’s the beginning of your day. You’re talking to him, telling him the things you’re worried about, what you’re concerned about, what you’re thankful for, what you’re blessed with, and you say, “Jesus, help me have a better day. Help me do what God needs me to do out in the world on this day.” And you get up and you go to work, or go about your business. And you do it the next morning. You go into your study and have coffee with Jesus. And you do it the next morning. And you do it the next morning.
And then the next morning while you’re having coffee with Jesus somebody sends you a text message on your phone and you check it. And you say, “oh Jesus, I have to cut this short because somebody needs me. So you cut that coffee short. And then the next day, in the middle of your coffee with Jesus, you say, “I’ve got an early meeting at work so I’ve really got to go. But it was great having coffee with you.” Then the next morning you pop your head in the door and say, “oh I can’t make it this morning. I slept through my alarm and I’ve got to go.” So you just kind of waive at him and go on your way.
The next day you don’t even pop your head in, you’ve just got to go. And the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning to the point where you’re afraid to open the door because you don’t know if Jesus is still there. And then after a long time passes, something happens in your life that is very upsetting. And you think “you know what, I don’t know if he’s in there or not but I’ve got to go have coffee with Jesus.” And you crack the door open and you peek your head and Jesus is sitting there, saying “oh, I was waiting for you. Come have coffee with me.” And you sit down and pour your heart out to Jesus and you have coffee and you go about your day.
This is a human struggle. Whether it’s having coffee with Jesus or praying or going to church. Other things tug at us and pull at us. But we are called as disciples of Christ to have God as the center of our lives. Our touchstone which everything else gets touched by. It’s the basis for who we are, for our virtues.
So my challenge to you this week is to up your time with Jesus. So starting tomorrow, Monday through Saturday (I’ll give you a bypass for Sunday if you come to church), Monday through Saturday get up and have coffee with Jesus. Just you and him. Have coffee with him. Five minutes. Thirty minutes. Tell him what you’re concerned about. Tell him about all your friends you want to pray for. Thank him for all the blessings he’s given you. And then say, “God, what do you want me to do today? What do you need me to do today? And give me the strength to do it.” And then go about your day. Monday through Saturday, everyday.
I can tell you, from personal experience, you are gonna have a really good week. It really makes a difference. It makes a difference. Talk to him. Pray to him. Worship on Sunday in this beautiful place where we get to feel the Holy Spirit in a very, very special way. And let me know how it turns out. The closer you are to Jesus, and God and the Holy Spirit, the more you will be led by them. Guided by them. And you will do what the Father needs you to do. And that is going to make you tremendously happy, to be serving God in his church. Go have coffee with Jesus.