”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” vs. 18
To be orphaned is to be deprived of the guiding, protecting, and nurturing presence of parents, and when it happens at an early age, the experience can be devastating. Young orphans will feel unwanted, adrift on a treacherous sea, and easy prey for predators. Jesus uses that kind of language as he prepared his disciples for life without him. He promises that he won’t leave them as orphans, but will come to them and be with them. This is the great hope of Easter, a season that’s not so much about the prospects of life after death as it is the assurance of Christ’s constant and continuing presence within the community of believers. He goes on to describe the inclusive love that will be the identifying mark of his presence, a binding together love that comes straight from God. And because they are loved, his disciples will naturally live according to his commandments. And what kind of life will that be like? Well, it’s first of all an ethic of unconditional love, a love that extends outward, including not only our fellow disciples, but even our enemies. In the world such love is unknown. Love according to the world’s standards is notoriously self-serving and exclusive. Only in the community of Christ do we and the world experience the sacrificial love that is at the heart of the gospel. Only where the resurrected Christ is present does such love even become possible.
Thought for the Day: What is sacrificial love?