John 14:15-21 Jesus said to his disciples, "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 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.”
Reflection When I was a child I understood God to be up, up and away, far above me; out of sight and unreachable. Even if I could climb a few steps of the ladder toward God’s supreme place of excellence the gap between my bumbling humanity and God’s unwavering divinity was too great for me to navigate. My early experience of life with God was rather like walking on a gangplank. With boldness of heart and firmness of spirit I would mount that plank and head toward God - until the inevitable plunge. I’d fall from grace into the ocean of shame, wallow there for a time then drag myself out to try again.
There is every chance I would still be running and rerunning the gangplank scenario; crashing, treading water and dragging myself out, if I had not really ‘heard’ Jesus’ words to his disciples, “On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” From then on the gangplank and unmountable ladder were replaced by an image of God as a boundless circle with Jesus in the circle and me in it too! The best thing about it was that there was no way to be out of the circle. God is in me and I am in God just as Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus.
Some of the time the edge of my slight circle seems to dissolve into God’s infinite circle and I experience the joy and the love, the grace and the peace, the wisdom and the blessing that I know belong to God - not me. Those moments come unbidden and last but for a breathe. Pure gift they arise like God’s oceanic love to inhale the droplet of my being then breath me out again. It’s a gentle breathe, a coming in and a going out, always within God’s circle. Always a gift. And then, there is the slight circle again. The merest me engulfed in God’s endless sea.
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