A Reflection from Matthew Gough....
Many Rooms, One Way
I am writing this on the edge of the Benefice in the vast expanse of Leicestershire Golf Course towards Evington. It is the first time I have been here. It is a massive place to explore which in normal times one cannot do because of flying golf balls. Thankfully today, the golfers have been grounded. This place helps me to think of Jesus talking about the generosity of His Father’s House, ie eternal life having unlimited space for all.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus words are incredibly comforting to his followers as he talks off his own death. We recall them in Easter because they remind us of the eternal life Jesus promised for his followers after his death. Jesus promises to goes ahead of us and though it is unknown to us, he promises that all we need do is to know and trust Him.
The encouraging words are often used at funerals. We emphasise them because we say there is room for everyone! Many mansions, many rooms, or the greek-many dwellings. A place for all in ‘My Father’s House’.
However, these are not sentimental words. Later, Jesus says the only way to the Father, the only way to be assured of being in the House of the Father is through Jesus.
Jesus’s inclusive offer is open to all but space for all is only through Him.
The reading follows on from last week where we heard about Jesus being both shepherd and gate.
Jesus establishes himself as the Way. This is all Truth and very Life itself. Big claims. He says the way is a person, the truth is a person, life in all its fullness is found in a person.
The person of Christ calls to each of us-to know the Father and that we know the Father if we know Jesus. If we know Jesus then we know the way to the Father’s House. We have the assurance of eternal life.
The only other time in John’s gospel we hear Jesus use the term, is when Jesus cleanses the temple ‘My Father’s House’ of the merchants getting in the way of worship. ‘Turning my Father’s house into a market place’. Jesus is physical and angrily makes room for the Father to be worshipped in His house. The way of Jesus is worship of the Father which requires a cleansing and removal the ungodly to make room for the Father.
What do you need to remove? What takes up space preventing you worshipping the Father? What stops us knowing Jesus.
We find room in our Father’s house if we are willing to follow the Way, and the Truth that is Christ. The way to life by his truth.
Eternal life has meaning and hope that is not sentimental. Rather it is a hope built on the scars and wounds of a risen Christ.