Many Dwelling Places
The Sufi poet, Rumi, writes of how he has been living on the ‘lip of insanity’ knocking incessantly on a door. Finally, the door opens and he realizes, ‘I’ve been knocking from the inside!’
In the portion of John’s gospel set for this Sunday, Jesus is chiding his disciples for their lack of belief in God. He reminds them: ‘In my father’s house there are many dwelling places If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?’
We normally think of dwelling places in the sense of a final resting place, in the same way that heaven is often imagined as a place we go to when we die. We hear these words from John 14.1-14 read at funerals – it’s one of the most popular texts.
You will find in the home worship resources this week a simple reflection produced by the Church of England for use at home on the day of a funeral you can’t attend.
It can be comforting to imagine the final resting places of our loved ones and wonderful to remember that there is a room prepared for each of us. I used to love listening to faithful old Auntie Kathleen describing the soft furnishings waiting for her in heaven. Imagine what your room might be like? And then sense Jesus, the desert companion, showing you the way to this place – right now.
Following in the way of Jesus is not about striving and working at it, in the frenetic fashion we sometimes do; it’s about letting ourselves recognize what we already know in our souls, in the depths of our being. It’s not about wrapping our brains around points of belief that grow so contentious; it’s about opening our eyes to the door that has always been there, in our soul/our heart, waiting for us to notice it, and walk through to enter the spacious dwelling place that has been there all along.
May all your resting places this week be blessed.