It's again a promise to Jesus' followers that after his mission here is finished, they will not be alone. They will receive the Paraclete (counselor, advocate, helper) who will guide them in remembering and understanding the life and teachings of Jesus. This Paraclete will empower them in witnessing and service. And they will experience—whether in tranquil or stormy times—peace. And it's all in the plural, this promise to Jesus' followers.
After communion, when returning to their pew, the eyes of some fellow members meet mine. There is a smile, a slight nod of recognition or a subtle wave of the hand. We have worshiped together for twenty years. Opened the Bible and read together. Prayed together. Encouraged one another to service and sacrifice. Forgiven one another. There is a joy in this, a sense of belonging. And thus we are experiencing the abundant life, life lived in the near presence of God.
Present Lord, we keep doing the things of the world around us. We get hooked on the idea that more stuff can give lasting happiness and that accumulation of property, power and prestige will fill us up, alleviate the emptiness. And then we discover that stance to be woefully inadequate for it never delivers. We ask that you will return us again to your promise that you will make your home in us. Amen.
John 14:23-29 (NRSV)
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.
24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25 I have said these things to you while I am still with you.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
28 You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe."