Family gatherings (15-03-2022)
Reading (John 14:6-14)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Following my dad’s funeral last week we gathered together to share memories, to comfort and support each other, as well as to eat food and drink vast quantities of tea (or hot water in my case). The funeral itself had been a wonderful celebration of a life of faith well lived and had been underpinned by the certain knowledge that dad is now in heaven.
When you have large family gatherings, and we are quite a large family, there will always be people who you have not seen for a long time. We are all far too old for anyone anymore to say ‘my how you’ve grown’ however there were two comments that struck me. The first was said of both my younger brother and also one of my cousins. The comment was simply ‘I thought you were your dad, you look so much like him’. Now, both my dad and my uncle have died in the past year, but for many the image of the fathers can be seen clearly in the sons.
The second comment made to me, as well as to others, was ‘you haven’t changed a bit!’. Now, this might be the case if it’s not been long since you last saw someone, but it is now ten years since I last saw the person who said it to me, and with the best will in the world, I do not look exactly the same as I did ten years ago, I have aged, as we all do.
As Christians we aim to become more and more like Jesus. We hope that as we travel on our Christian journey and grow in our faith that people will see our Heavenly Father in us. The bible reading from John is a continuation of the one I used last week. The challenge for us is that when people ask to see God today, they should be able to look at the church of God’s people and see God in us.
Thankfully for us God never changes. We change every day, but we can truly say of God that he hasn’t changed a bit, regardless of how long it is since we have been in touch with him. Let us hold firm to the knowledge that God is always there, always the same and may we grow each day to be more and more like him.
There is a prayer chorus that I have often sung in the Salvation Army and it simply says:
To be like Jesus,
This hope possesses me,
In every thought and deed,
This is my aim, my creed.
To be like Jesus,
This hope possesses me.
His Spirit helping me,
Like him I’ll be.
We thank you Father, that you are the same, today, tomorrow and forever. Help us to grow to be more like you.