Devotion from Pastor Charlie 

May 15, 2017

His Family
"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you" (John 14:18).
Jesus spoke these words as he prepared us for life as the church. He's with his disciples at the Last Supper, the whole sequence of final events lie immediately ahead, from death on the Cross and Resurrection to his Ascension. He would soon be physically gone. But wow: "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming
to you." We're his family. We won't be abandoned. Reflect on this unique
farewell promise.
It wasn't so much of a goodbye as a "See you later." Even though he was leaving this earthly plane of existence, Jesus would still be actively present with his family of disciples in the world. I've written previously about the five specific ways you can experience Jesus with us now (e-devotion for April 18, 2016, on the church website). Remember, he was not talking about some vague spiritual sense, but real personal experience in your daily practice of worship, fellowship, social interaction, and Christian service.
"I will not leave you orphaned; I will come to you." Pray your way into these words, as Jesus elaborates on his "see you later" promise: "You will know that
I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. . . . Those who love me will keep
my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make
our home with them" (14:20-23).
"I will not leave you orphaned," Jesus promised. Why? Because we are his
family. We Christians experience God in the person of Jesus, which means that our relationship with the Divine is eternally personal. How wonderful that Jesus always spoke of God in terms of a family relationship. God is our Father, we are his children, with Jesus we are brothers and sisters, together forever.

Charles Hambrick-Stowe
The First Congregational Church of Ridgefield, Connecticut