We could describe the overall theme for this week as being “Abiding”. Abiding is a central theme in John’s gospel. It is introduced in the first chapter. We heard it last week in Jesus response to Philip’s request to see the Father, “‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” This week we are reminded that Jesus is in the Father, and that we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us. So much abiding! What does it all mean?
In Jesus we see the Father who abides in Jesus. We see the character of the Father: love, compassion, mercy, justice, inclusiveness, passion, goodness and peace. For John the chief character is love. We are to live in this love, dig roots deeply into this love, and base our identities in this love. When we do this we cannot help but love. That is the commandment – to love one another. We do not do this out of obedience but because we are people in who abides love.
All this sounds easy, but Jesus knew it was not, and promises the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth who will also abide within us, and will help us abide in this love.
Truth is an interesting word. I suspect we mostly understand it as “conformity with fact or reality”. The underlying Greek word which is translated into English as "truth" is alethea. “"Lethe" is the river in Greek mythology that the dead drank from in Hades in order to forget their past. And so "a-lethea" - truth - has the sense of: waking up; remembering; overcoming oblivion and stupor; being alive and vital; not being deceived by false ideas or desires or scams; SEEING what is as it actually is.” The Spirit of Truth wakes us up from our forgetting who we are, that is people made in the image of love. We are then saved from our blindness and can live and love as God intended.
William Loader concludes “The passage is framed by human anxiety about the absence of Jesus and ultimately about the absence of God (14:1; 14:27). It does not deny the anxiety and distress, but offers a promise of presence and sense of meaning embedded in sharing God’s life and participating in God’s action in the world, recognisable by its ‘Jesus-shape’. John composed these parting words with more than the immediate disciples in mind. Do they not still make sense and help people make sense of their tradition?” 
In the passage from Acts we hear Paul inviting his hearers to recognise that “Jesus shape” within their own religious setting, in what they already knew and practiced. And we hear him inviting them to get beyond their desire for novelty, and instead to go deeply into the one who abides in us, opening us up to the reality of love. We live in a similar age to Pauls, an age captivated by the new and novel, and a deep desire for the instant. Like Paul’s hearers there are many influences that claim our identity, that invite us to sink our roots into, even just for now. History, even recent history would teach us that Christians are no more immune from this than any other group. We too easily forget the Spirit of truth, and our eyes close to the risen Christ abiding within. We too become slaves to the novel and instant. John and Paul both invite us to ask, “whose are we, and who are we?” May the Spirit of truth waken us to the love within each of us, within all those we meet, and in the world we live in that we might love as ones loved by the One in Whom There Is Only Love.