They’re in the upper room.
They’ve had their feet washed by the Teacher, watched him stoop to serve.
They’ve shared a meal together, lingered long at the table.
And now Jesus seems to be talking in riddles.
We, of course, know what awaits them all as they step from this place in mere moments.
They, clearly, did not.
In this world you will have troubles. (John 16:33-34)
The poor guys didn’t know the half of it.
The next few days would lay their hearts, their intentions, bare.
They would deny.
They would run and hide.
They would watch in horror, wondering how this One who called them to follow could actually die.
They would sit with the silence, with the questions.
With the grief.
Maybe they would scream at the Father. Surely they would doubt.
But take heart,
The Teacher spoke.
Have courage. Be brave. Hang on to faith, and even joy.
The Teacher speaks.
In the horror. In the silence. In the questions. In the grief. In the screaming. In the doubt.
Friends, this is a word for us too.
As we live, like the disciples, in the heavy hours after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday.
In the middle place of the Kingdom, in between the now and the not yet.
Courage. Bravery. Faith. Joy.
The Teacher spoke these words to his dear ones even here.
Even when he knew the darkest hours lay right ahead.
We know this is not the end of the story.
But it’s where my heart lingers tonight.
For, you, dear one, wrestling in the middle place.
The Teacher still speaks