by Leo Schuster, Lead Pastor at City Church
In Shakespeare’s Richard II, the dying Duke of Lancaster remarked, “Oh but they say the words of dying men enforce attention like deep harmony. Where words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain, for they breathe. . . their words in pain.” Ever since I heard those words many years ago I’ve thought about what it would have been like to witness what Jesus said just before he died. The Apostle John, one of Jesus’ dearest friends, captured in chapters 13-17 of his Gospel an extraordinary collection of those scarce words he heard firsthand. This segment of scripture, often referred to as “The Upper Room Discourse,” occurred the night before Jesus died. He knew what lay before him, so he called together his closest followers to share with them words he breathed in pain. They were words spoken from an upper room in Jerusalem, words they needed to hear, not just to help them process the grief they were about to experience, but to grapple with the implications of it all–-for them and through them, to the entire world. He knew they desperately needed that kind of upper room vision to sustain them and shape them to be his disciples. Much like those initial followers of Jesus, we too need those words of Jesus to enforce attention upon us like deep harmony, to infuse our lives with purpose and fill us with peace, as we walk through life limited to the constraints of this “lower room” world. Join us and invite others for this first series of the New Year, as we reflect on some of the most intimate and inspirational words in the Bible.