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     This Week's Focus: "Come, Holy Spirit"
       Click the link for John 14:8-17, 25-27  


Dear Friends,

This week our Easter joy climaxes in the glory of the Ascension and the triumph of Pentecost. The risen Christ has returned to the Father. But we are not abandoned. We are empowered. We are commissioned. We are inspired. And the church of Christ is born… all by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our faith is not in a lost legend. We are not driven by nostalgia. In Christ, God has come among us. And in the Holy Spirit, he has never left us. He is right here, right now. He tells us: these are the best of times. These are our times… our own unique opportunity to embrace the Spirit… to praise God and to serve our neighbor. This side of heaven, we will never have another.

John’s gospel is unique. While it recounts the life of Christ, it also gives us great insight into his nature. Rather than mirror the more narrative evangelists, John reinforces two recurring themes: the divinity of Christ and the mystery of the Trinity. This week’s passage picks up on a conversation that first Thomas and then Philip is having with Jesus.

The apostles are nervous. Jesus has been talking about going to the Father and they want to know where they fit in. After all, when Philip was called, he dropped everything and immediately followed Jesus. No questions asked… but after long service, he thinks he deserves some solid proof that he made the right decision. And so he challenges Jesus: Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.

Jesus answers by asking Philip if he hasn’t been paying attention to all that he’s seen and heard. And as in all the gospels, Christ is also speaking directly to us. Two millennia later, Jesus is asking us today: Haven’t you been paying attention?

But before we answer, we should think of the implications. They go well beyond a rote knowledge of Sunday school lessons or even a mastery of theology. Do we actively live in the knowledge of God, the loving Father, who created the perfection of the universe and whose creation continues to unfold around us? Do we actively live by the example of God, the loving Son, who lived among us for our instruction and went to the cross for our redemption? Do we actively live in the sustaining sanctity of God, the Holy Spirit, whose constant presence informs and inspires our faith, making life’s every incident an opportunity to give glory to God?

This is heavy stuff. But the Jesus of John’s gospel is here to do the doctrinal heavy lifting. He confronts us with the mystery of the Trinity… and invites us into communion with every aspect of God. Christ’s answers to Philip are both simple and profound. In miracles that show command over nature, over afflictions, over life and death, Jesus has shown that the power of the Creator resides in him. Now he tells Philip that this is not a blessing on loan from God, but that he is one with the Father.

And then comes the punch line, Jesus tells Philip and us that: I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

There it is in one sentence. Jesus tells us of the Trinity, its makeup, its role and the implications for our lives. On Pentecost, we celebrate Christ’s introduction of the Advocate and the descent of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus was physically present to Philip, we pray for the Holy Spirit to inhabit our lives, to be present in all that we do.

Come, Holy Spirit. Live in us. Lead us home. We are slow learners and fast forgetters. But we are yours. Teach us how to live this day… consciously, actively…in the love of God… our Creator… our Redeemer… our Sanctifier. And so we pray: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Alleluia!      


 

A Reflection for 
The Feast of Pentecost 
©The Reverend Canon David F. Sellery

 
Copyright © 2019 David Sellery, All rights reserved.


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