These are the notes of a short talk given at an informal breakfast ‘event’.
The other day, someone I work with was waiting for a bus to take her to work. The bus came on time, but sailed straight past her. So much for that journey. She was abandoned.
A couple of months ago, my wife & I were expecting to attend the wedding of the daughter of one of her friends. The Wednesday before the wedding day, her fiancee called the whole thing off. She was abandoned.
We hear of abandoned babies, abandoned pets, abandoned holiday-makers, abandoned buildings.
Do you have any stories of being abandoned?
There was a time when the disciples of Jesus felt that they were about to be abandoned. They had pinned their hopes on Jesus. He was their leader, their teacher, their trusted guide. He was going to deliver them from tyranny and oppression, and bring God’s rule in.
But one day, he told them he was leaving them. The next day, he would suffer a criminal’s death. The day after that, he would be in his grave.
Imagine their shock and disappointment. Do you think they felt abandoned? I should think so.
Read John 14:15-18.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever—the Spirit of truth.”
‘Counsellor’ = one who is called alongside to help. A helper, a comforter, an advocate.
‘Another Counsellor’ = another one, just the same as the first one. Who was the first Consellor? Why, Jesus himself, of course. Jesus goes to his heavenly Father, and the Father sends the Holy Spirit, who is another Counsellor, one who is just like Jesus.
What difference would it make if Jesus himself were sitting here with us at breakfast? What difference would it make if Jesus were to come back home with us and join us for lunch? What difference would it make Jesus were to turn up tomorrow and accompany us to school, to the shops, to work? What difference would it make if Jesus himself were to put his arm round your shoulder right now. What inner thoughts, doubts, worries, fears, delights, would you want to share with him?
And yet Jesus is as present with us now by his Spirit as he was when with his disciples when he stood on the mountanside and taught them, when he sat around a table and shared a meal with them, when he knelt down and washed their feet.
We are tiny specks of dust in a huge universe. But we are not abandoned.
Our relatives can disappoint us; our friends can let us down. But we are not abandoned.
We can feel isolated and lonely, trying to make sense of life and death and the purpose of our very existence. But we are not abandoned.