It is not uncommon for me to trip over one of my dog’s bones in the morning. I am not sure what goes through his mind, but he has the strangest places he thinks he is “storing” these bones. My previous dog Boomer was worse! Sometimes she would get up in the middle of the night and rearrange her bones, often strategically placing one right at the side of the bed. It sat there like a landmine, until I got up, and would disrupt the whole household as I set off the trap.
This happened this morning, and I laughed as I arose to then read the John 16 passage: “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling.”
Some of you received a letter yesterday from the church. I did not receive one in the mail, so some of you may be in my USPS boat wondering “what letter?” Because not all of you evidently have it, please excuse me being somewhat hesitant, coy, shady. It is a letter laying out a significant budget trajectory shift for the church, and there are some very upset people.
To all of us Jesus says “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling….But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away….I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
People then were very upset about the change. They were upset about Jesus saying he was leaving. They were upset and didn’t see the fullness of God’s story.
This work of the Spirit, and how things will be after Jesus’ departure, is convoluted. Sorrow will be turned into joy. Everything seems veiled. Righteousness and judgment are wrapped up in the Father and the Son, somehow brought on in accordance with the Spirit. Things change with God on the loose, as we see in the Daniel reading most clearly, how much of that will be shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
Daniel paints a picture of the resurrection, that at the right time, some who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and contempt. It is a good read. If you haven’t experienced Daniel before, I encourage you to follow the link and read it.
Perhaps that is enough this morning. We live in the mystery of these workings. We live in discombobulated times. We are not meant to understand fully why things happen. We are only meant to understand that God is above it all, and yet through it all. He is our Judge, but also our Advocate.
May the fullness of God’s peace rest with you today – a day of hard news and broken hearts. Call me if you need to talk.