If you lived here, you’d be home now! Easter 5a

John 14:1-14

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 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? 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.

And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

What is it in our human nature that persistently wants to turn grace into law, inclusion to exclusion, plenitude into penury?  We are the great reductionists!

The Gospel this week speaks of consolation for the disciples who are troubled that Jesus, is speaking about leaving them.  They are not sure their hearts can bear it and that why he quiets their troubled spirits by speaking of a Father’s house where there is abundant accommodation. In contrast to the birth of Jesus, the Father’s inn will never be too full.  This is also far more than a guesthouse we are speaking of. The Father’s house is home.  It is the place the Prodigal son eventually headed for when he came to himself.  It is the place you and I long to return to when we are homeless and heartsore.

What is more, Jesus the shepherd, the gate from last week’s gospel, is going to make sure that everything is ready “back home” where the Father is, and when he has turned back the covers, and put the chocolate on the pillow, checked and refreshed the flowers on the nightstand and aired the room, he will come and take us to be there.

You also know where I am going”.  Is it possible that Jesus was implying,… “Because you are already there.  When we began this adventure I told you that the Divine Doman (Kingdom of the heavens) is at hand, close and even within you.  I am not speaking about travel I am talking about transformation. This is not about destinations it is about discovering you are already at home with God.” John Kabat Zinn titles his book, “Wherever you go. there you are

Incredulous, over-thinking Thomas, can’t get beyond the concrete and so asks for a map.  “Just give me the co-ordinates to that I can plug them into the old GPS and let the device take me there.”  Jesus says to Thomas, “ I am the GPS, the map, the truth and the life.  Nothing else is going to get you there if you don’t get me.  (If you don’t understand me)”   Surely if the resurrection appearances teach anything they demonstrate that in the Divine domain, geographic locations are irrelevant? Locked doors are of no consequence, Jesus appears and disappears at will.  He is in Jerusalem, Emmaus, Galilee; seemingly all at once.

Philip begins to understand that there is nowhere to go but still wants a sign. “Show us the Father and we will be satisfied”  Once again, may I speculate some unrecorded sub-text?  “No Philip you won’t be satisfied.  If you are still looking for God in signs and wonders and can’t see the Divine in this moment of resurrection encounter, then nothing will reveal God to you and nothing will satisfy you.  The divine domain, is here Phillip, in me. Can you not see the non-dual unity and union of everything in me. Philip there is no division in me.  I am one with “I am”, and so you can be.  Just look at what has happened the works of restoration and latterly of resurrection!”

This has to be one of the most beautiful non-dual, inclusive passages of teaching by Jesus.  All the divisions are healed in Jesus.  There is unity and accommodation for all.  There is no need to go anywhere, for Jesus has come to us.  There is no need to search any further for it right here.  Just lay down., you are home already.

How tragic then, that this passage has become the war-cry of exclusivist and triumphalist Christian dogma that uses the very words of the all including Jesus as a sword of separatist isolation from others.

As Jesus has pointed out in this passage if we don’t see the unity in all this, we really don’t get it.  “How can you say, show us the Father?

Perhaps the best rejoinder to those who use the words of Jesus in this passage to be judgemental and exclusive, comes from that master of the one-liner and the succinct, snappy answer, Richard Rohr.

When Richard has spoken inclusively, and people throw at him, “But Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life…NO ONE…” Richard replies in his lovely gentle manner, “When Jesus said ‘I am the way the truth and the life’, it means that you are NOT” A sobering reminder if you get it, that none of this is our business.  This is mystery of the highest order and our best response is awe and wonder, rather than bigotry and belligerence.

I wonder if this place has room service?


8 responses to “If you lived here, you’d be home now! Easter 5a”

  1. Peter avatar

    Hey Phil,
    Thanks for commenting. I just woke up to the fact that I disclocated the narrative to a post resurrection context.
    Gotta get over this Post Easter dragginess.
    Bless you

  2. Peter avatar

    Thanks for commenting Mike. I love your angles too.

  3. Peter avatar

    Oh my! Thanks for waking me up Susan. Can’t believe I got so dislocated. Post Easter burnout still filtering through. Bless you for alerting me. I have edited accordingly.

  4. Susan avatar

    not that it changes the gist of this (and I’m glad I found and read it) . . but this is a pre-crucifixion encounter (crucified in chapter 19). This is the sweetness of Jesus preparing his disciples for what is to come the next day – his last words with them.

  5. Phil Ewing avatar

    This is really good and I love the quote from Richard Rohr too.

  6. Mike avatar

    Peter, this is a really lovely and expansive reflection. The words from Richard Rohr are profound and thought provoking if not convicting. I have begun thinking of the many rooms in the Father’s house not so much as each one of us getting our room but as the qualities and attributes of God. So there are rooms of love, mercy, beauty, compassion, forgiveness, healing…. We experience the different rooms at different points in our life. The rooms in the Father’s house are not our reward but our journey into the heart of God. There are places prepared for us but our places never deprive another of their places.


  7. Bill Harder avatar
    Bill Harder

    Jesus is love – pure, true, universe-creating love. So, He is saying, “love is the way, love is the truth, love is the life. No one comes to the Father except through love. And that is inclusive. Wherever we experience the life-giving nature of love we are experiencing Christ/Father/Spirit.

  8. Irene avatar

    Amen Amen & Amen again to that, and thanks for the reminder of ALL.
    Room service?, Jesus is servant of all… 🙂
    God is Good all the time, All the time God is Good.

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