Close your eyes. Inhale for three seconds, pause, and exhale for three seconds. Take as many breathes like this as you like.
John 14:15-31 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.
We learn a lot about ourselves in times of stress and change. I think it’s safe to say we are currently in a time of stress and change, on a global scale. In these times it is easy for us to be reactive as we scramble to make sense of it all and cling to a sense of control or certainty. In Jesus’ circular way, he is attempting to prepare his disciples for a time of stress and change. He does not want them feeling lost or alone, even though things are about to change for them, big time. Jesus is telling them that their perspective is going to shift, drastically. God, playing the role of artist, is about to force a new perspective on the world.
There aren’t enough words or time for these disciples to be ready for this new thing God is about to do. What if this new thing God was doing was less about the end of Jesus’ life and more about seeing life from a new perspective – God’s? God, the original artist, has taught us the rules of perspective.
“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one!” With this ancient cry God’s people see from what artists call a one-point perspective. This perspective is used in art to create distance. There is one God, but a distant, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
Perspectives shift with the incarnation. In Jesus, we are given an additional point of perspective. In art, the two-point perspective gives an object the appearance of being three-dimensional. The incarnation is God embodied, flesh and bone, birth, death, and beyond. God in 3-D.
On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, he leaves them with the promise of a new way to see him – in the love they live and share together. He also promises the sending of the Advocate. I see the gift of the Holy Spirit as something similar to what artists call a zero-point perspective. This perspective is a way to give depth to your work even without parallel lines.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, our rules were changed forever. We no longer have lines to create an illusion of reality. We have reality itself, the kingdom broken open among us, to be lived abundantly. With a zero-point perspective, the triune God is the basis of our reality, our zero point. In the triune God our lives grow in depth and meaning, surpassing our limited understanding of space and time.
Our world has shifted once again. I think of it is a return to zero. Home base. The lines we created for ourselves to shape our realities were all illusions of perspective. This is our opportunity to reorient ourselves around the true reality that flows from the source of all creation. Through the power and peace of the Spirit may we live in renewed love together, knowing Jesus among us.
Things change, but this truth remains the same: God’s presence, God’s peace has never left. Amen.
Inhale for three seconds, pause, and exhale for three seconds.
God, our source of life, you know what we are feeling right now. You know our questions. You know our limitations. We wish for answers and things to do to make everything feel normal again. Return us to you. Before we overthink or overreact. Return us to you. Before we over-function and busy ourselves, fixing things. Return us to you. Fill us with your life. Fill us with your peace. Fill us with your love. So that we can see each moment from your perspective. So we can live each moment, in you. Amen.