Go! for Lent: John 16:7

Go! for Lent: John 16:7

March 16, 2016
By: 
The Rev. Canon Connor B. Gwin, Canon Missioner for Youth and Young Adults, The Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

“It is good for me to go away.”

We so often want Jesus to stay with us, right here and now. We are comfortable in familiar places with the familiar people, but Jesus says, “I must go away so that the Holy Spirit can come.” He must go away so we can be sent.

Rob Bell, the former pastor and author, recently said, “The ‘temple’ can be a place where we hide out from doing the real work in the world that we are called to do.” He went on to say, “Really, the whole thing is a temple.”

Churches exist to refresh and equip people to go out into the world and serve God’s mission and yet we have shifted our focus and made the church building the main event.

When we gather in our sanctuaries, we should really say, “We’re so glad you’re here, but this isn’t really the point. Now go!”

“It is good for me to go away.”

Jesus came to show us the Way and he left us with the responsibility to follow that Way in our own context. He did not leave us comfortless, but instead sent the Comforter - the Holy Spirit - to guide our feet.

Too often we think of the church building as a place of comfort, especially in youth ministry. We treat youth ministry like a fortress from the big bad world where we gather the youth together within our walls to keep them safe.

Instead, Jesus seems to call us to teach our young people (and not so young people) that the Holy Spirit - the Comforter - will keep us safe wherever we are. With that in mind, we should show our young people that God wants them to go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of Christ by word and deed. We are all called to go into the world to flourish and help those around us flourish.

In this new missional moment, let us remember that we are a sent people, called to leave the temple and go forth into the hurting streets. We are not called to comfort, but are instead, guided by the Comforter. God is not confined to the temple or to the four walls of our churches. God is our in the streets with the broken and the lost. The world is in desperate need of some Good News and if we don’t go and tell it, who will?

Tagged in: Lent

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