This weekend marks the end of our mini-sermon series on the Farewell Discourse and the final Sunday in the Season of Eastertide. It is also the end of May, which means that summer is just around the corner.

In our passage, Jesus is drawing his sermon to a close. Trying to assist his followers in understanding. To get them ready. To help them in these final moments before the storm is about to break.

By contrast, the world around us is in full turmoil. As I remarked to one of our committees last night, I think our entire nation is just exhausted. Overwhelmed. Hurting. Desperately afraid for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Goodness knows wherever we all may fall upon a myriad of issues, our hearts are aching for our children, our teachers, our parents, our school administrators and staffs, and our first responders, among so many more. The sheer enormity of the grief and devastation surrounding the events of the last few days, not to mention the past week and a half are beyond staggering. There is a reason the psalmist wrote of sighs that are too deep for words.

What Christ offered his followers in those final hours before he was taken (gave himself over) was the promise of presence. It is the abiding promise that comes through the entirety of Scripture: God will be with us. Wherever we are. Whatever we are going through. God is there.

No, it is not a magic cure-all or fix-it. Even the Israelites had to walk through the desert to flee from slavery. And there was no way to the empty tomb but through Golgotha. Unfortunately, God doesn’t promise that the bad things won’t happen – it would be awesome if God did. But sadly, that’s a much bigger question for a different day.

What God has always done, however, is to be there with us through whatever comes. Walking right alongside us. Carrying us at times. Probably just holding us through others. God is a shelter from the storm and a promise that the dawn will break again. Even with the work and the hard stuff ahead.

So hold each other close and hold tight.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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