May 10, 2018
by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294

Acts 18:1-8
Psalms 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
John 16:16-20

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter Home

For those celebrating the Feast of the Ascension today

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayers by and for Mothers

Come Back to Life

“You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (John 16: 20)

“You who were lost have now been found.”  Paul rammed into the Spirit and his old convictions crumbled.  With God’s help, he was freed from deadly passions to embrace those he had persecuted with such zeal.  Paul was lost.  How did he turn from his old ways so quickly?  Did the words of Stephen, the first martyr, stir his heart?  When our eyes are opened, there is someone to thank.  Paul, the maker of tents, carried the Word of the Lord throughout Roman lands. He journeyed with companions and lodged with members of new Christian communities.  Some were hostile.  Others opened their doors.  The movement emerged as a religion where many, especially the poor, found welcome.

Jesus tried to prepare his followers for the days to come.  He will be gone and fear will grip them.  Still in his presence, they did not understand.  Hidden in locked rooms after the horror, they clutched his words and still did not understand.  Didn’t he promise: “I will not leave you orphans”?  But there they were.  Left behind.  Forgotten. 

Being left behind leaves a sting that is hard to forget.  We remember the emptiness, as a child, when our grandparent dies.  We remember how the car lights disappear down the street after being dropped off at college for the first time.  Some separations are harsh.  A child is left at the police station and then placed in an orphanage, never to see that family again.  The woman fleeing violence arrives at the border.  Officials take her child for months of separation.  Abandonment is a brush with death. 

When Jesus died, his followers grieved.  They too died.  But the story was not over.  What felt final was not the end.  “In a little while,” something stirred within.  God’s presence filled them in a new way.  Fear gave way to assurance and strength.  Jesus’ puzzling words became real: “I am in you and you are in me.”  Aroused by the Spirit, they returned to life and their new journey began.

For some, the emptiness seems final.  Does this hole have a bottom?  

God, send comfort into the darkness.  Let your many branches of love find us.

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