This Thursday the Church celebrates Ascension Day. The first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles describes how Jesus, forty days after his resurrection on Easter, ascended into heaven. I invite all of you to come to St. Alban's at 12 PM to worship on this holy day as we celebrate how Jesus reigns over both heaven and earth.
But if Jesus is in heaven, why have we been left on earth? Have we been abandoned? In today's gospel passage, Jesus reassures us that we will not be left alone, "I will not leave you orphaned" (John 14:18). He tells his followers that God will give us another "Advocate" to be with us forever. This promise is fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descends upon the followers of Jesus. The disciples weren't abandoned, God loved them in a new way.
So has God forgotten us? Of course not. The Holy Spirit, our Advocate, is still with us. God has remained faithful to us and finds new ways to love us. God's ever-present love for me has been the truest story in my life: that in spite of my heartaches, illnesses, and sin, God has refused to abandon me.