“They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
~ John 14:21 - 29
He looked at the people, and then looked towards the heavens. Places he has both known as home. Both contain memories, emotions, and events that have existed since the beginning of time, and now it is time to leave one for the other.
I remember the first time I made the drive to Corpus Christi, Texas, where my daughter, Emily, was studying at Texas A & M. While her apartment was reflective of the person she had grown into, I looked around and realized that a part of me was going to be with her always. I guess as a newly designated, "Empty Nester" I tried to find things that she would have at her new apartment that would remind her of me. Something that validates that my child would not forget me, or that somehow, I could continue to journey with her in some other form.
As I climbed into my car to leave, one last good-bye hug and kiss, I realized a variety of emotions sweeping over me. Fighting back a few tears, I just smiled and drove away. She had put on her best "game face" and had turned away, "I've got to get back to my laundry, dad..."
A response that provided for a quick get away so that any tears on her part would not be seen.
While on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the appearance of the Holy Spirit, the Great Comforter and Advocate that Jesus has spoke of, we also are saying good bye to Jesus' literal presence on earth. He is returning home, while a new presence of God comes to the Disciples and those who have gathered, on the wind.
I somewhat understand what God must have been feeling. Leaving behind those who he has called to follow Christ, and hoping and believing, that there is just "something" that they will carry with them. Place in their home, communities, but mostly, within each person.
It's that Spirit that validates that Christ has come, and that Christ didn't just lived, but dwells within our hearts. It's that presence that reminds us to be present for one another. It ignites desires to go and to serve. It is still today what calls to each of us, and we respond with, "Yes, Lord..."
It is that still, small voice, that becomes shouts in a crowd, and calls out to others!
While Jesus turns to leave, no emotions are recorded. Simply, "Peace, I leave with you, MY peace, I give to you." A blessing.
May that peace dwell within each of us as we remain in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
A Pentecost Visit
by Rev. G. Todd Williams
from the book, "Let Us Pray: Reformed Prayers for Christian Worship"
Creator, like the breeze of wind in Spring’s March,
you blow across the plains,
all the earth
grows with each breath.
Gathering the dawn, and collecting the
body of your kingdom,
molding the global community that will be.
like the warmth of sun poured out
on the morning mist of pre-dawn,
fills the shadows of darkness
and gives new light for illumination.
Like the aroma of the tallest of sycamore trees
that line the dancing brook,
you are carried on the breeze.
You clothe our senses,
carpet our hopes with shades of purple and gold,
the adornment of the One,
ushered in as the King, who is Christ.
You sweep in,
bringing relief to parched soils,
and loosen the grip of winter in the tundra.
Dissipating the smog,
encouraging us to breathe you in,
Your sweet ru’ach*, “breath of God.”
The gulf hears your roar
as you destroy sandy foundations,
forfeiting materialistic ideas;
quickening us to the center of our soul.
Like the lover’s breath,
you whisper hope,
and seal us to you
with grace from your Spirit.
Some days, the salty tears,
which created our oceans in your own loneliness,
fall from your face, still;
leaving us to wonder what
possibilities are availing?
But like the first cosmic light of dusk,
you are there to greet us.
So, you visit us in the
evening of our life;
when we sense our work is complete,
delivering to us your complete peace.
I believe in your Holy Spirit,
that gives each of us life.
Poured out on all flesh.
Who, with the Father
and the Son,
is worshiped and glorified.
* ru’ach - Hebrew from Genesis - the literal breath of God that gave Adam life and his spirit.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.