There is a word that gets thrown around a lot in John’s gospel. And even though it’s not used today, it’s what Jesus is talking about.
Most of us have some sense of the word.
It’s something like rest, visit, or stay.
It sounds like something we at the lakes probably know all too well.
But anyone who entertains guests knows something of this.
Right before company arrives you have that mental pep talk:
We just need to pull it together for 3 days,
and then we’re in the clear.
Because visits have expiration dates.
And I do mean expiration.
When company leaves there’s always that moment when the front door closes
And you let your breath out.
And then once the guests are gone, you can go back to normal.
No more staggered showers,
No more strange grocery lists.
Back to normal.
I think abide means more than visit, however.
With visitors we play host or hostess.
We play a part for a set amount of time.
No matter what kind of guest, we know that they will be leaving at some point.
And once they’ve left, we can get back to the normal rhythm of life.
But one who abides is not an interruption.
One who abides is a paradigm shift.
One who abides is not staying for the weekend.
They are not leaving Sunday night or even Monday morning.
They are here indefinitely.
There is no expiration date.
There is no getting back to normal once someone abides with you.
You are going to have a whole new way of living with a whole new person.
You are going to have to make permanent adjustments.
In the Gospel today, Jesus uses some pretty strong language.
God’s abiding love and presence in our life will not be fleeting.
Jesus prays it will be abiding:
As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
This in not phrased like a casual visit.
Jesus is praying that we let God become more than a vacationer in our lives.
And this is the true nature of our faith.
God has moved in for good.
But some of you are saying, ”I don’t remember signing that lease!”
And maybe you don’t, but someone did.
It happened when you were baptized.
Your baptismal certificate is floating somewhere around here on Earth.
If you don’t know where it is, don’t worry they keep a hard copy on file in heaven.
Whether you remember it or not, God moved into your life the day you were baptized and hasn’t left once.
You might have let him to fend for himself but he hasn’t gone anywhere.
In fact, he’s been rearranging the furniture.
I remember when Sara and I moved in together, she said things like, “why do you do the dishes like that?”
“Wouldn’t the couch work better here.”
“And, have you ever heard of pledge and what it’s used for?”
And that is what God does. Sometimes in a jarring way.
Life with God means having a set of eyes on some of the bad habits we’ve gotten into and a voice telling us some new things we might try.
At first, you’re not sure you like it but then you can’t imagine it any other way.
I wonder when the last time was that you checked in with your housemate.
When was the last time you had a house meeting?
When was the last time you checked in with God about what’s been going on in your life?
The more you do that, the better this arrangement will be.
Maybe take some time this week to take stock of the work you’ve been meaning to get to
Or better yet
Take some time to just hangout. Go on a walk, just you and God and check in.
Next week we are going to have some baptisms. I think it’s likely that the events surrounding their baptisms won’t be as dramatic as what we heard in this reading from Acts. I don’t anticipate any fortune teller encounters or supernatural prison breaks. But hey, we’ve still got a week.
Nonetheless, something big isgoing to happen.
You all are going to co-sign for some Holy Spirit leases.
You will all are going to help God move in to some new homes.
I’m going to ask our baptismal candidates some questions but then I’m going to ask you all the following
Will you who witness these vows do all in your
power to support these persons in their life in Christ?
And do you remember your line?
This week, spend some time thinking about how the Holy Spirt has lived in your life.
Think about the good times and the hard times.
Think about what God has brought you to and through since that day you got water on your hair and oil on your forehead.
Then pray for those just about to begin that journey.
You’ve been living with their new roommate for a while now.
You know what to pray for.
Next week we will again be called to walk with folks who are just beginning to know their new, eternal house guest.
It’s time to breathe.
Surely, he is coming soon.
Company is on the way.