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John 16:16-20

The Word of God

Jesus said to his disciples, "A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me." Then some of his disciples said to one another, "What does he mean by saying to us, 'A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" They said, "What does he mean by this' a little while'? We do not know what he is talking about." Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, 'A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy."

John 16:16-20
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The phase “a little while” is repeatedly used in this short passage. “A little while” may refer to the three days between the death of Jesus and his resurrection; but it may also be the time between the first and the second coming of Christ, the time in which we live, and move, and have our being. Jesus does not mince his words; he tells us that our lives will not be free from pain and desolation, but he also promises us that our mourning will turn to hope, and our pain to joy.
    • Seven centuries before the coming of Christ, the prophet Habakkuk harangued God for allowing wrong to triumph in the world. God answers that his vision will take time to accomplish: “if it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.” May I respond with Habakkuk, “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds’ feet, he makes me tread upon my high places.”
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The disciples had come to depend on one way of being with Jesus. That happens to us too: we become familiar with a way of praying, an approach to scripture, an understanding of church. What Jesus says to the disciples, he says to us: be patient, trust.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • God’s time and God’s ways are not ours. God’s ‘little while’ can seem like a lifetime to us. Do I want God to hurry up in healing people, in sorting things out and so forth? Though I may not ‘see’ how God is working, can I trust that God is hard at work in the world and in my own life?
    • Jesus tells his disciples that even as they ‘weep and mourn’ the world will rejoice. He is telling me that God’s eye is always on the bigger picture and that he notices and cares for our sorrow.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Pain turning into joy is part of the human condition. A grain of wheat falls and dies in the ground and then becomes a rich harvest. Loss and pain can bring us close - to God and to each other. It may not. Prayer can be a time of noticing the good in everything and of praying that pain will turn into joy.
    • /The Ascension is celebrated in some areas today./ The final departure of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit gave new strength and energy to the group of disciples. The new message seems to transcend boundaries like language among people and illness within people, and that evil does not conquer. From heaven the Lord continues his work on earth through his followers.
    • Jesus knew what was in the disciples' hearts, he realised what they wanted to ask him. As I pray now, I know that Jesus sees what is in my heart and ask for the will of God be revealed a little more to me.
    • Reflecting on my life, I realise that there have been times of light and shade. I pray for all of those who are in darkness just now; that they may draw hope from Jesus promises: I pray that all who rejoice may give thanks for God's blessings.
    • What Jesus said was not always understood by the disciples and, sometimes, their talking to each other seemed only to give rise to more questions. There are times when I need to turn Jesus' words over in my heart rather than seeking the answer outside in discussion or inspiration points. Perhaps I can recognise where Jesus has, at times, been hidden from me and, at other times, revealed.
    • To be a follower of Jesus is to have feelings that seem to be at odds with the world. Jesus does not promise removal of mourning immediately. I pray for the patience that I may need -and for wisdom.