Jesus said to the disciples, “The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to their home…I have said this to you so that in me you may have peace.”
- John 16:32a & 33a
Jesus said this to his disciples on the eve of the crucifixion. Jesus knew death was upon him. Before the resurrection, his death would be difficult for the disciples: they would feel lost when death took Jesus away. This would scatter them, each to their own homes. The loss of Jesus coupled with the loss of their community together would be very difficult for the disciples to bear. Jesus warned them this was coming so that when it happened they would not lose heart. He hoped that in their despair that they would turn to him—even in his absence—and find peace.
These words of Jesus resonate with our circumstances today. We, too, are scattered, each to our own homes. The loss of our community together is a difficult burden to bear. The loss of worship in the sanctuary obscures our sense of Christ’s presence with us. While being scattered in our own homes feels isolating, we are scattered together. This scattered-ness is a shared experience. Jesus has not abandoned us, but is with us, each in our own homes. Despite our scattered-ness, we are still a community of faith, bonded by the Holy Spirit and our love for Jesus and each other. We are scattered together.
As I reflect on my five years in ministry at Briarwood, I am struck by the fact that two of those years have been in this Pandemic. I hold each of you in my heart, seeing each of your faces in my mind, and holding you all in prayer. Christ binds us together in Christian love. Despite our scatteredness, Briarwood’s community remains true. Despite our scatteredness, we are still together. Christ is with us during these trials of Pandemic, enabling us to be scattered together. As we face the future—the unknown of learning to live with this virus—we do not face it alone. We face the future together, as a community of faith. Jesus is in our midst, leading the way and giving us peace. May we lean on each other, and turn to Jesus who will guide us and give us peace and strength for the journey.
Grace and peace,