May 2020

I Will Not Leave You Orphaned

6th Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020 ~ Mother’s Day
Acts 17:22-31, Psalm 27:9-10, John 14:15-21

– The Reverend Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas –

Throughout scripture we are encouraged to trust that God will faithfully abide with us as our protector and shield against all kinds of danger, and will never abandon us.

Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for the worse, anticipating his capture and crucifixion; anticipating their sense of abandonment by him that would cause many of them, in turn, to abandon him in his time of need. But he also wanted to assure them that as offspring of an everlasting God, death will never have the last word. For the Word of God is eternal, and even as Christ fully embodied God’s Word, God’s Word would become fully alive in them as well, through him.

In other words, he wanted them to have faith in the promise he made to be with them always, and to never leave them orphaned.

A dear friend and relative was recently asked by the man she loved to be his wife. But she placed a condition on her acceptance, which was that he and his two young boys had to enter family counseling to deal with their sense of abandonment from his first wife and their mother, who left them for another man.

Most apparent to her was the negative behavior of his older child toward females, be they his teachers, peers, or her; and she feared that, left untreated, such behavior will lead to demeaning and destructive relationships with other women. He promised to pursue family counseling.

Not long afterwards, she received a letter from this son saying:

I’m sorry for everything I have done. I’m sorry that I felt you were taking my dad away from me. I know he loves us both the same. It’s hard for me, because I don’t want you to walk out on us like our mom. That would be very hard for me. I’m sorry I don’t say “Hi” and “Bye” to you, and that we don’t talk. I know you want to get to know me, and I want to know you too. I hope you can forgive me.

PS: Thanks for fixing my bike.

We live in a world full of wounded souls injured by broken promises between spouses, between parents and children, employers and employees, between politicians and the people they represent, and between nations. But we trust in an intuitive awareness of the divine within each of us that enables us to believe that, while others may forsake and abandon us, God will always abide.

Faith is the commitment of two fully alive lovers to their promise to always be true and to never forsake one another. And the church that is fully alive in this world is one that attempts to embody God’s presence and promise in Christ within and beyond its members.

The faith of the psalmist was that even if our father and mother forsake us, God will bear us up (27:10). And Christ confirms, “I will not leave you orphaned.” (John 14:18) God is with you always. Amen.