The Minister writes

Dear All, 

2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

In these few words from the Gospel of John, we find a wonderful reminder of the infinite love and grace of God.  Jesus spoke these words to his disciples during the Last Supper, just before his arrest and crucifixion.  Here, Jesus was preparing them for his departure and he wanted them to know that they did not have to be afraid.  So, what better way to reassure them than to tell them that he was going to prepare a place for them in his Father's house.

I do wonder, what are we to make of this today?  Well, I think these words are deeply reassuring as they remind us that we too have a place in God's kingdom.  They tell us that no matter what challenges we face in this life, we have the assurance of abiding in the unending presence of God.  They speak to us of how we have a hope that not only sustains us today but also transcends this world and all its limitations.

But what are these "many dwelling places’ or, as often translated, “many mansions" that John’s Jesus speaks of? This is often interpreted as a literal description of heaven.  And that is a legitimate and understandably comforting thought for many Christians, and I fully respect that.  But I do just wonder if the reference to the ‘Father’s house’ is actually a beautiful continuation of the theme of hospitality so poignantly seen in the foot washing in John 13 and also, we think of 14:23:  23 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.

So perhaps we could understand this as a metaphor for the many different ways that God shows his hospitality, love and grace to us.  Today, tomorrow and always, we abide in God, we live in God, this is where we belong, this is where we are loved; there is always a loving, welcoming home for us in God.  And may I add the ‘many’ can also speak to us of the wideness of God’s love, the inclusiveness of God’s love.  There is room for all in God’s grace and love. Let us work for a just and peaceful world where all, whoever they are, are free to abide, to live in the love of God and enjoy life in all its fullness.

Every blessing,

Andrew's signature

Generous God,

whose way is love, whose truth is searching, whose life is freely given in Jesus Christ our Lord: as you have opened for us your house of many rooms, so may we make a place for the rejected and unloved, and share the work of peace; through Jesus Christ, the image of God. Amen.


© Steven Shakespeare, Prayers for an Inclusive Church.







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