Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. John 14:1
Every now and then I pick up the Bible and when I start reading, I say to myself, “This passage was meant for me today!” That’s an egocentric way to read to the Bible (I know!), but sometimes you just can’t help it. And for me, today, I found it to be extra true.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. I’m sure that verse speaks to all of us at different points in our lives, as it did to me when I read it this morning. I was feeling anxious about moving and the new call in Minnesota and … you know … change. I felt a calm wash over me; I needed to hear those words.
Then a bit later, as I was prepping for Bible Study, I was reminded that John 14 is part of what’s known as the “Farewell Discourse” in John’s Gospel. Jesus is saying his farewells to his disciples (though they don’t really know it yet). And I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that we are also in my last month here at Bethany, saying farewell.
And the last bit which makes me think this passage was meant for me this morning is that every time I read it, I’m reminded of my beginning time here at Bethany. It was the passage used at the first Funeral I presided over (for John Michaels, a man who coincidentally helped buy the baptismal outfits for my brother and me as babies). Full circle.
Do not let your hearts be troubled? All right God, I’m listening.
In our Gospel this morning, Jesus is saying goodbye to people who don’t even know he’s leaving yet. In that context, his words might have seemed out of place, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me.”
Why would the disciples hearts be troubled at that time? They were probably wondering, because Jesus is speaking of something in the future; Jesus is speaking of the cross. It will be a time of trouble, but Jesus is reminding them to stay strong in their faith despite all that is in store.
“Believe in God, believe also in me,” Jesus tells them. In the difficult times that are ahead, their faith will help see them through. Faith, hope and love, and a relationship with Jesus the Way, will carry them through any change or farewell that life could throw at them.
Thanks be to God! Amen.