In our Gospel reading from John today we get a precursor of what and where Jesus will be in two weeks. A group of disciples who had been following Jesus for a goodly period of time are grumbling among themselves about his recent teachings concerning the bread of life and the resulting eternal life......And they abandon Jesus....they walk away. Jesus then turns to the 12 apostles and asks "are you leaving too?" And Simon Peter pipes up "of course not!" But Jesus knows better.....and so do we. For two weeks from today we will be in the middle of the great three days, with Jesus in a tomb, abandoned and betrayed by those who have named him God's Holy One.
How often in life this kind of scenario plays out for us.....where someone, or some group has sworn allegiance and pledged support and love, and yet the abandonment comes. We see this, analogously, in the divorce rate. We have experienced this sharp pain of loss when friends have abandoned us for seemingly greener pastures glimpsed in someone else's heart. How we handle those losses, those betrayals can be an important part of our faith journey. When faced with these kinds of losses, modeling Jesus' bravery, sense of purpose, and devotion to God's calling are strength imbuing remembrances of how to muddle through to something better.
Life can be challenging at the best of times. Yet, we don't have to be pessimistic. Neither should we adopt what is best summed up by the Monty Python song: Always look on the bright side of life, da dumm, da dumdee dumm deedumm.... Yet, being realistic and at the same time living in the goodness of the here and now, balancing our understanding of the obstacles that surround us, allows us to move forward to a different and better day..... To find a way through the thicket that can sprout up around us during times of abandonment and loss. And we know, with Jesus as our model, that we are not alone on the journey out of the thicket, for God is there with us, as we follow the path broken for us by Jesus.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Art: The Last Station, Jesus Entombed., jfd+ 2006