Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Have any of you ever had moments of understanding that completely changed the way you understood the way the world works? Moments that turned your world upside down and inside out?
For 1,000s of years people firmly believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth. People were absolutely positive that the Earth was the center of the entire Universe.
Then Galileo discovered that the Earth wasn’t the center of the Universe. That the Earth actually orbited around the Sun. Galileo’s discovery shook people to the very core of their beings. His discovery was so shocking and so disturbing – that the Catholic Church actually threatened to kill Galileo for daring to say that the Earth wasn’t the center of everything in the entire universe.
Folks didn’t take kindly to his turning their world inside out.
Or like when the explorer Ferdinand Magellan proved that the world was round instead of flat. With no understanding of gravity – folks just assumed that anything that wasn’t nailed down – would simply fall off the bottom of the world. So naturally – the world had to be flat. Then Magellan and his crew circumnavigated the world without falling off.
Talk about turning the world upside down!
We have all had moments like these. Sure our discoveries probably don’t make the evening news or get us written up in history textbooks. But these moments are still a really big deal to us. They still change us and our lives forever.
For many of us – I am guessing that this spring may be one of those times of profound change in our lives.
I can still remember one such moment in my own life. I was probably only about 8 at the time. I was playing with my friends on the school playground when Sara declared that her mom said that Mrs. Sando was dying.
“What?!?” – I remember thinking. Mrs. Sando. . . I knew that she had been really – really sick. We all knew that she had been really – really sick. She taught 3rd grade at our school and their family lived in our neighborhood. She was our friend’s mom. Mari’s mom was dying . . . that was simply incomprehensible to my little 3rd grade brain. Mari was our age. Mari and her little brother were still just kids. They needed their mom for seriously important things like food, shelter, and well – they needed her for just about everything.
In that moment – I learned young people could die too. (And now that I have children of my own I realize just how young Mrs. Sando was at the time . . . She was incredibly young.) Up until that day – I had assumed that only really, really super-duper old people died. I didn’t realize that parents could die and leave their kids all alone in the world.
My world was shattered by this newfound knowledge. This realization left me reeling. Because even at 8 – I knew that being orphaned was a very bad thing. (I had read the Boxcar Children books. I knew that being orphaned meant you were ALL alone in the world!) I had nightmares for weeks about being left all alone in the world to fend for myself. I remember begging God not to leave me orphaned.
In our Gospel reading for this week – we hear Jesus speak words of comfort and reassurance to his disciples during a truly terrifying time in their own lives. In just hours Jesus knows that he will be arrested – put on trial – convicted and crucified. Jesus knows the disciples are frightened – actually Jesus knows that they will soon be downright terrified. Jesus knows big changes are coming for his disciples. He knows their world is about to be turned inside out and upside down.
So – Jesus promises his disciples that he will not leave them orphaned. That he won’t leave them all alone in the world to fend for themselves. Jesus reassures them that he loves them and that he will continue to love and care for them – no matter what happens.
We can certainly understand a bit of what the disciples are going through – can’t we?
I keep thinking about the incredible – shocking changes that the spring of 2020 has brought into all of our lives. I mean really – if on New Year’s Day anyone had said to you that by May 17th we would all be living through a global pandemic that had us quarantined in our homes for weeks on end – we would have thought they were a bit unhinged or still tipsy from having too much fun on New Year’s Eve. And yet – that is exactly where we find ourselves.
The world remains in the grips of this deadly pandemic. . .and we don’t know how long it is going to last . . . The economy is in tatters. Those of us who can work from home are doing just that. And far – far too many of us aren’t able to work at all. Our children are distance learning – kind of – sort of – well we hope they are anyway! So many of our politicians and governmental leaders are behaving like petty children (actually that is probably a complete insult to all children everywhere) – blaming each other rather than working together. The numbers of people who are dying from this horrible virus just keep growing and growing. The heartbreaking loss and fall out just seem to get worse and worse and worse.
Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out. We are exhausted and afraid. And yearning for hope. It feels like our world is a great – big – scary place.
But Jesus tells us today that there is Good News – comforting news – reassuring news. We are not alone in this world. We aren’t orphans. Jesus reassures us that he won’t leave us alone. That our Lord isn’t going to forget or foresake us.
God will always take care of us no matter what this life brings. God is with us all of the time. God is faithful. God has been with you each and every moment of your lives and God will continue to be with you all of the time. This will be true no matter where you go or what you choose to do with your life. God will be with you forever. You can trust in that – because it is true.
God loves you with a perfect love forever. God walks with you and will provide for you and watch over you. You are never alone. Not even now during these frightening times. God is always faithful and you are always in God’s perfect loving care. Truly this is Good News – AMEN.