Fifth Sunday of Easter
When we lived in the Midwest, a visit to distant family could at times seem like more effort and trouble than it might be worth—days away and pastor coverage, arrangements for flights and rental cars, pass-ports and time zones.
However, whatever time of day or night we arrived, no matter how far we were from home, when we arrived, it was always about the love for us, not about distance or trouble or the delayed flights. We were troubled for nothing.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled” seems like a pretty tall order. The disciples do not seem too sure they can do that, given the circumstances. Are troubled hearts something we allow to happen? Or are they thrust upon us?
Jesus attempts to still their troubled hearts by telling them he is leaving and will make a place for them where he is going. On the one hand, it must have comforted them to be included. On the other hand, this kind of leaving must have troubled them even more.
This is part of what Jesus means when he tells them that the only way to the Father is through him. The way home is not about going to a place; it is about the relationships that make the place home. Jesus is going to prepare their place, wherever that may be and whenever they will need it, because he already loves them. All through the book of John, the writer is trying to share the importance of knowing Jesus. He stresses the signs that point to who Jesus is, not to the miracle itself. Jesus’ long speeches and “I am” statements point to the ways the disciples can relate to Jesus. He speaks of the connections they share and the difference this makes in their lives.
When you know Jesus, there is no need for troubled hearts.
Keith Harke, pastor, West Side Moravian Church