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Marty Vershel

John 14: 15-21

I was a nightmare for teachers through most of my school years. It wasn’t because my grades were bad in fact I was an honor student throughout my school years. And it wasn’t because I was mean or evil. No, I was a nightmare because I liked to talk. And while I was quite a talker, I wasn’t the only one in my classes that talked…there were others that talked more. But I was the one that always got called down. You see my problem was that I talked loud. My problem was that I just did not have what some teachers call an “inside voice”. So I spent most of my younger life hearing that sound, “Shhh…” In the classroom, I would hear it “Shhh…”. In the library, I would hear it “Shhh…”. On the playground, “Shhh…”(although it never made any sense to me, if I had to use an “inside” voice indoors, why I couldn’t use an “outside” voice when I was outdoors…but it never seemed to work that way!) In the band room, “Shhh…” And even at home my dear ol’ mom would say it, “Shhh…”. Everywhere I turned, that sound echoed in my mind, “Shhh…”

But while most of the time I was being shushed for being too loud, there were other times that I would hear that sound, “shhh…”. There were those times that I looked forward to that sound…times that I will treasure in my heart forever. When I was growing up, sometimes I would be afraid of going to sleep because of stories my brother told me or things he threatened to do to me. It was on those nights that my Mom must have been psychic or something because she was able to read my mind. When she would tuck me in she knew my fears, my worries, my concerns. And as she would gently tuck my blanket around me, she would lean over and whisper so my brother would not hear, “Shhh…listen, it will be all right, I’ll be right here if you need me.” She wouldn’t shush because I was talking or because I was loud but simply because she wanted to make sure that I heard the words of comfort and hope that she offered to me.

It was one of those moments we see the disciples in so often in the gospels…gathered together…listening to Jesus…utterly clueless!! Jesus was giving them one of those pep talks we find sprinkled throughout John’s gospel. He was reminding them of everything that He had taught them. He reminded them that they needed to follow His commandments of love.

And then He told them that He was going to be leaving them soon ...but that God would send them someone in his place someone Jesus called the “Counselor” or “Comforter”. I imagine those words pierced the disciples’ hearts as they realized that Jesus was going to be leaving them...realized that the One they had depended on ...and turned to for support through so many difficult times...was not going to be with them for very much longer. I’m sure they had no idea what Jesus was talking about...and they probably didn’t care. All that matter was that Jesus was leaving!! What would they do? How would they carry on without Him? What would happen to the movement?? I guess Jesus read their minds or something, because He knew what they were feeling. He knew their fears, their doubts, their concerns and their questions.

And while the Gospel writer doesn’t tell us in so many words, I bet that if we had been there, we would have heard Jesus say "shhh" to his disciples. In fact, he probably used both kinds of “sshhh’s” Shhh! Listen to me! I said that I wouldn’t leave you alone...and I meant it! I said that my heavenly Father will send another to comfort you and to remind you of all that I have taught you ...and he will!” Now shhhhhh. Listen and remember. I will leave you with peace...a special kind of peace the world knows nothing about. Now ssshhhhh.” It wasn't because the disciples were being rude or talking too loud that Jesus had to shush them. It was simply that they were so busy listening to their own questions and fears that they weren’t paying any attention to the words of comfort and hope that Jesus had to offer. They needed to hear the words of comfort and hope that Jesus had to offer.

It reminds me of when my Mom would tuck me in at night and shush me so that I could be comforted. On this Mother’s Day, I can still hear, in my mind, Mom’ gentle “shhh” as she offers me words of hope and comfort. And later today I will most likely call her simply to say thank-you. But on this day, I hear another “shhh” not from my Mom but from my Lord. And He shushes me not because I am loud or talking too much but because I simply need to still my heart and soul long enough to hear the words of comfort and hope that Jesus offers to me…to us.

What about you today?? Worship is the perfect time to focus in and listen to God...but often we can’t do it. What is keeping your mind so loud that you can't hear what God is saying?? What is it?? Trouble at home or maybe work or school?? Problems with finances?? Shhh...listen...Jesus offers peace the world cannot offer know! Dealing with the grief of losing a loved one...either recently, or a long time ago?? Questions about your faith or your salvation?? Shhh...listen...Jesus offers peace the world cannot even know! Whatever you might be facing now…or whatever you might face in the future…Through the Holy Spirit, God is offering you and me words of hope and of comfort. And that is the Good News that we hear today...Now if only we will believe… In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…