Today’s gospel is the passage I go to the most when preparing funerals. I believe Jesus when he says he will come and take us to himself. I have hope, that one day we will be forever with our Lord in the dwelling place he has prepared for us.
Because I believe God’s arms are open wide in love, I trust that we are going somewhere beautiful that has been made ready by our Lord. In many scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments, there is a promise of feasting and joy. Jesus spoke these words in the context of his last supper with his friends before his crucifixion. It was a foretaste of the communion to come. Even though we are not able to celebrate Holy Communion at the moment, we can look forward to feasting with Christ in his Kingdom.
I used to picture the dwelling place Jesus will take me to as a static home for all eternity, partly because the authorised version of the Bible called it a mansion. I now believe that there will be movement as we are changed into Christ’s likeness and made whole. The context for this will be within our heavenly Father’s protection and love as part of his household. Because we will be changed, like Jesus we will have spiritual, resurrection bodies. Christ’s body moved through bricks and mortar so I guess our dwelling place will not contain us in the way we are contained by our homes at the moment.
Jesus’ disciples were challenged, as we are, to believe that what is spiritual, that which they couldn’t see or understand was just as real as those things which troubled them and made them afraid. Death would not be the end of their journey. It was just a step towards closer intimacy with Jesus and our heavenly Father. When Jesus said he would come and take us to himself, in his Father’s house he was picturing a Jewish wedding when the bridegroom comes and takes his bride to the home he has prepared and they become united in body and mind.
When we see Jesus, he tells us we see the Father because he and the Father are one. Because we are invited into a relationship with Jesus in the here and now, we are invited into this intimate unity whereby we know what God wants and do what he does. He leaves us with the promise that if we ask anything in his name he will do it.
Peter writes about growing into salvation as we come to Christ and taste and see that the Lord is good. When we do so he says we are being built into a spiritual house where Christ is the cornerstone. We may be in separate homes but as we worship and pray we are being “fashioned into a royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”