Knowing the comfort of God is a strong presence on a narrow path...
"I will not leave you comfortless..." - Jesus (John 14:16-18)
This morning, early, I received a phone call from my mother. Her brother, Norman, is very sick, and she had just heard that was taken into the hospital in England. The news was delivered with an air of finality that left my parents scrambling for tickets to the UK on a moment's notice. It's important to my mum that she see her brother again; but as of this moment she's still in Florida, and we're not sure how things are going to work out.
It reminds me of the summer I just missed saying goodbye to my grandfather Fred. We knew he was ailing and all the Mauls - including then 14 moth old Andrew - were heading to England for a rare four generation photo. Instead, we made it in time to attend his memorial.
I remember sitting in Grandpa's study with my aunt. We were all missing him very much, trying to connect with his memory. She took a book from his desk-top and opened it up; it was his Bible.
Instead of replacing the worn scriptures, my grandfather had rebound his Bible - time and again - over the years. Consequently all of his notes and annotations were preserved, from the day in the early nineteen twenties that he first opened its pages - through sixty some years of faith, family and struggle.
Inside the cover my aunt found a series of important dates: birth, death, declarations of war, celebrations of peace, and my grandfather's prayers and observations. And there, close to the front, she found her own birth. "Born today, a beautiful baby girl; we shall call her Gladys. Dear Gladys, one day you will read this...." And there followed words of hope, encouragement, consolation, peace.
We caught my grandfather's spirit that afternoon. Warm, tangible, timely. Through his words we both felt a significant measure of his love and intention; it was real.
Jesus promised us even more. He promises the comfort of the Holy Spirit, God with us in every small detail of our lives. There is no magic to this concept - simply the promise of Jesus translated into love.
"He will abide in you," Jesus pledged. "He will take up residence within the very essence of who you are. This is my gift, this is my power, this is my comfort. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, you will know completely that I am alive and vitally involved in your every moment. I love you; be comforted."
PRAYER: May the beauty of your holiness abide in us; may the assurance of your love abide in us; may the ministry of your Spirit abide in us. Amen