Later today I’m heading out to Maple Ridge for at least a night for our annual Bishop’s Study Conference. While it is an annual event and it is in my call letter (like my job description) that I attend these things, this will be the first time in a while that I’m going. I’ve participated in the last couple years online due to pandemic-y related things, but this year I’ll actually be there in person.
And I admit, it feels a bit weird.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Study Conference itself. The location is great, the food is even better (usually), and I have no complaints about the company. It’s just that I haven’t left the family for a work-related trip in probably over 4 years, and it’s just a bit… I don’t know… different.
But I know it won’t be that bad, as it’s just Maple Ridge which is less than an hour away, and with technology the way it is, I can easily check in on them with the touch of a couple of buttons (or taps on a screen, as it were). I might not be there with them in the flesh, but I’ll be with them through other means. This separation will just be very very temporary.
Who’da thunk that I’d have more separation anxiety than the kids? Go figure.
Jesus’ disciples probably were going through some separation anxiety themselves. Following Jesus was quite literally their whole life, they dropped everything in order to follow him. And so when he just mentions that he won’t be with them physically anymore, I can imagine how that must have felt for them.
So his promise of “not leaving them orphaned” would have been reassuring. Yes, he won’t be there in person, but he’ll be there in spirit. He’ll be with them through the lessons that he taught, the service they had experienced, and the the testimony of his love. He isn’t with them in the flesh, but he is with them.
As Jesus is with us. Always. In all that we do and all that we are.
Through his teachings, his example, his very life. Jesus is with us. And so while we might not be able to see Jesus in the flesh or even put our finger in the wounds of his hands and side, we can rest assured and be confident in his promise that he will not leave us orphaned, but continues to be present: leading, guiding, and empowering us through the Spirit that is so graciously given to us all.
This might not help with my separation anxiety from my family, but it helps in knowing that even while apart, we are not alone. But God’s love will always join us together through the work and words of Jesus our Lord.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!