Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Feast of Pentecost - John 14:8-27

Years ago I had one of those moments when I desperately wanted a clear word from the Lord. Nothing seemed to be working. Not prayer or conversations with colleagues or time in silent meditation. I don’t recommend what I did next because I think it treats the scripture like a Christian version of the Magic 8 ball®, but desperate times called for desperate measures and so I opened my Bible at random and landed on John 14:9. “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still don’t know me?” That’s the other reason not to do it. God might use your name and when God has to use your name you know you haven’t been paying attention. Philip asks the question that is on everyone’s mind and though it sounds like a rebuke Jesus honors the question and shows Philip what he asks to see. It is in the person of Jesus that the mystery of the Holy One is made known. And even if the humanity of John’s Jesus plays second fiddle to his divinity Jesus is for Philip and the disciples a present, physical reality that can be seen. It is Judas (notably not Iscariot) who asks the question for us who have not seen and yet long to believe. It is in keeping the word from Jesus’ own lips, “Love one another” that God is made known. The Holy, Invisible, God Only Wise revealed in kindness offered, in mercy shown, in comfort extended, in generosity sown in the name of Jesus. In that we become the answer to someone’s desperate prayer - ask anything in my name. God made visible in love. In the same way that the internal unity of Father, Son, Spirit cannot be separated, so we too cannot be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. No longer alone without a home like those who have been orphaned, the good news for us is that even if God’s answer sounds like a rebuke, God uses our name because we are known.


  1. Funny that you mention this. One day I wasn't hearing from God and so I did the same thing that you did and he gave me the scripture Psalm 27:10 "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." This is when I finally felt peace with my mom and dad. I realized that they are only human and that I was putting their approval ahead of God's, Justin's, and societies. When I was guided to that passage, I realized that it was ok.

    There is a problem with doing the "magic 8 ball" trick and that is that God won't always give you that great answer!!! In fact, He usually does not. My problem is that I keep trying to get that answer that I am looking for :)

  2. Yes. God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. I’ve had the living word come to life on more than one occasion, but to use the scripture that way should be the exception and not the norm. That being said, it is way cool when it works.