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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 8, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 14:8–17, 25–27      

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

”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 forever. 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 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. (NRSV)

One of our colleagues recently explained that when she was a little girl, she fervently believed that Jesus was physically in her heart. It seems to me that this is similar to what Jesus is telling Philip and the others who were within earshot. Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, and Jesus replies, “Do you not know that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” That Jesus is one with God and, likewise, God is one with Jesus.

God is in Jesus. God is in Jesus’ heart. So the point is that if you’ve seen Jesus, you know God. Jesus continues, “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”

Most people of those days were both fascinated by and oppressed by the idea of transcendence. To most of them there was a huge distance between God and humanity. God was so far off that God was untouchable and little involved in this world or their lives. We often have the same tendency. Our minds so gravitate toward separating and parsing, toward setting up hierarchical structures of belief, that we find it hard to believe fully in the intimate interrelationship between God and Jesus and Spirit, and we find it hard to believe that God is actually in us. We might be able to talk as though we believe it, but we often don’t act as though we believe it.

I like the image of Jesus physically being in my colleague’s heart. I can look at her and know that it’s true. I think it’s true for the rest of us, too, if only we could believe it.

Little Jesus, was thou shy
Once, and just so small as I?
And what did it feel to be
Out of heaven and just like me? (Frances Thompson, Ex Ore Infantum)

Divine Lover of my soul, thank you for infusing your essence within my heart. Help me let that essence come forth, so that those around me are blessed. Help all of our God-beating hearts together pour out your God-shaped blessing on our world. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care

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