Friday, March 23
From Pain to Joy
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Jesus was preparing his disciples for his departure. It was a painful separation, and there was still so much for them to learn. But Jesus knew that his work would not be complete until he left them, and left the Holy Spirit (the Advocate) with them. The Spirit would not come until he was gone, and the Spirit's presence is crucial to God's work.
Sometimes our joy is not complete until we endure much pain and suffering first. When we get a new job that takes us far from home, the leaving is painful, but it makes way for the new things God has in store for us on the other side of the move. A mother's labor is painful, but necessary for a healthy baby to come into the world. A divorce is painful, but can also open doors to renewal and new life. Jesus' crucifixion, and these few weeks of remembrance are difficult -- often we are poignantly reminded of our sin and sinful nature during this time. But his death led to his resurrection, to the coming of the Holy Spirit, and to the new life God gave all humanity through Jesus' sacrifice. We may be in pain today, but joy is on the horizon.
Narrative Lectionary Text: John 16:16-24
”A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
"On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."