Everyone Take Your Seats

Here we are at the beginning of a new school year. How do I know? Well, my social media feeds are filled with “first day of school” pics. Some are of little ones headed off to school for the first time. Others are of “when-did-they-get-so-big” ones headed off to their freshman year of college. 

Either way (and for all of those in between) – they are facing situations fraught with anxiety and anticipation. Concerning questions and joyful expectations collide in a cloud of confusion –

What is it going to be like away from mom? home? family? friends?

What is the new place going to be like?

Will there be room for me?

Will I be welcomed?

When will I see mom – home, family, friends – again?

In today’s passage, Jesus’ disciples are engaged in their own delicate dance of anxious anticipation.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1-4

At this point in history, the disciples had just gotten the hang of their mission work with Jesus. They were just hitting their stride so to speak. In the midst of this journey, Jesus tells the gang that he won’t be around much longer but that he isn’t leaving them.

You can just imagine how confusing all of this must have sounded to those who didn’t have the benefit of spoilers. It just wouldn’t have made any sense. 

Disciples: You’re leaving as in for good, but it won’t be forever?? 

Jesus: Yep, you’ve got it.

Disciples: {{heads spin}}

The disciples are confused. Like all of the moms, dads, and others seeing the masses off to school this week, Jesus seeks to reassure. Jesus soothes their troubled hearts (and ours) with the assurance that the separation would not last forever and where HE was going there would be plenty of room for everyone to join him.

I hate spoilers – except when it comes to the Bible. When it comes to what happens when this life is done – I would be lost without the benefit of knowing that evil does not win. I would be distraught beyond troubled not knowing how it all turns out in the end.

My greatest hope on this side of heaven is knowing that heaven awaits. The greatest comfort on those days when my troubled heart tangos with fear, doubt, and grief is knowing that my God has set a place for me on the other side. Though it feels like eternity, we are not separated from God forever. He’s waiting for us, and the celebration is set to begin. When my day comes and I slide up to that table in paradise, I know that will see my departed loved ones again.

What a joyful reunion it will be! What a celebration awaits!

Jesus is holding you a place at the table. Have you rsvp’d? 

Dear Father – thank you for the spoiler alert. Thank you for easing our present anxiety with the joyful reassurance that this separation from You and those we love is only temporary. Let us find comfort in knowing that thiswon’t last forever. Shift our focus away from this momentary grief toward the joyful welcome that awaits on the day that we accept our seats at Your table. This we pray through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!


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