I Will Not Leave You Alone!

John 14:15-21

In the last scene of the musical Camelot, King Arthur sings a song filled with memories of what had been the most idyllic place on earth. Alone on stage, the broken, forgiving king begs us to remember:

    Ask ev’ry person if they’ve heard the story,
    And tell it strong and clear if they have not,
    That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
    Called Camelot.

    Don’t let it be forgot that once there was a spot
    For one brief, shining moment
    That was known as Camelot.

Keep the story going begs King Arthur. Pass it on to your children and your children’s children. In the remembering, you will keep the dream alive. In the midst of the despair around you, recall this time, this special place. And, perhaps this one brief, shining moment will come again.

We’re might hear Jesus singing Arthur’s song as he gathers His disciples for the last time. He knew he would soon be betrayed by one of his closest followers-betrayed, arrested, and finally killed. We can imagine Jesus sitting at the Passover table recalling with them the times they had shared, the miracles they had seen. With such a song the disciples could go on, held together by the memory of this one great life, waiting and hoping Jesus would soon return.

When we lose something that is valued, someone close or someplace familiar, we worry, become
disagreeable or feel depressed. That is only human. I am sure the disciples were feeling all these – the mood around Jesus and the disciples must have been pretty despondent.

But Jesus left the disciples with a promise –

    that God would leave them an advocate (John 14:8)

– to comfort and walk with them. So the disciples then – and us for the last 2000 years – and now, are not left alone.

We have the Holy Spirit, that nameless and mysterious part of the Trinity, forever with us:

    • That still small voice that comes into our hearts when we are most overwhelmed and confused
    • When we are confused and at a loss for an answer, and the Holy Spirit comes to us
    • When our hearts are broken and we don’t think we can go on, it is the Holy Spirit that fills our hearts with love and encouragement
    • When we see someone hurting, in need of comfort and we don’t know what to do, it is the Holy Spirit that provided the right words.

The Holy Spirit gives us Jesus’ reassurance that ‘I am always with you’.

A well-beloved spiritual originating from American slaves who were the most downtrodden and alone comes to mind:

    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,
    A long way from home,
    A long way from home.

But Jesus says he ‘will not leave us as orphans’. No matter how alone we feel, we are not alone. We are a member of the family of Christ, eternally protected by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

No matter what happens, what goes wrong, how remote God seems from us, Jesus assures us that we have a helper in the Holy Spirit that is always with us.

We will never be alone!

Let us pray:

Holy Spirit, be with us today. Be our teacher, guide, counselor, friend. Fill us with your gifts, especially the gifts of wisdom, discernment, knowledge, understanding compassion, and most of all love. In all that we think, say and do, let it be in accordance with Your most holy and perfect will. Amen

Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 29 May 2011

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