Reflection for Friday 30th April 2021

The Rev’d Derek Arnold

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READING John 14.1-6
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

REFLECTION
This is one of the most popular readings for a funeral and as you can imagine, it is one I am familiar with. So why do people think that this reading is so appropriate? Because God made us in such a way that we need relationships with one another and when that relationship is lost we feel pain, and it hurts.
And I think we can look to the words spoken in the reading from John’s gospel and find comfort. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
This led Thomas, known as doubting Thomas, to ask the question, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” And Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Therefore, even in the midst of the storm, even in the valley of the shadow of death there can be a peace that passes all understanding, because we know that God is with us. The 23rd Psalm tells us exactly the same thing. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Believe and trust in Him and God will grant you his perfect peace.
But not only is he with us, but hey, what a wonderful thing, but he has also prepared a special for us. It says, “I go to prepare a place for you.” And what an incredible place that must be. Isn’t that a comforting thought for each and every one of us? He hasn’t just prepared a place for us, but he also prepared a way for us to get there.
Jesus tells us that, he is the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes to the Father, except through him. We are all travellers on a road called life, and there are many detours, but we don’t need to be confused and we don’t need to get lost, we just need to follow Jesus Christ, and he will show us the way. In fact he is the way, he will lead, and guide us.
There is a song called ‘Mansion over the hilltop’ based on the reading from John. It has even been sung by Elvis and the fourth verse says, “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we’ll never grow old. And some day yonder, we’ll never more wander but walk on streets that are purest gold.”
I guess we need to ask ourselves. Do you see the mansion, it’s just over the hilltop? The lights are on and the door is open, there’s a meal prepared, your friends are inside and there is comfort.

THE COLLECT
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life:
raise us, who trust in him,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that we may seek those things which are above,
where he reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

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