Easter 6 Blog
PASTOR CLAY SCHMIT
The Spirit of Christ is With Us
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday told of Jesus telling his disciples:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
The concept of the Holy Spirit is hard to comprehend. How can Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit be one in essence? We rely on sayings like these to grasp some understanding of who the Spirit is and what the Spirit does. In this short passage, Jesus tells us three important things about the Spirit.
First, Jesus calls him an “advocate.” In other words, the Holy Spirit is on our side. Whatever we face in life, we know that the Spirit of Jesus is pulling for us, wanting us to be safeguarded from evil.
Second, Jesus says that this is the “Spirit of truth.” I have heard many people say, “the Spirit told me to do this” or “to say that.” When I hear that, I am usually quite suspicious. I used to have preaching students report that the weird word they preached was “given to them by the Spirit.” In other words, “you cannot critique what I said because it came straight from God.” I would always reply that “the Spirit appointed me to critique sermons in this class, and I can assure you that the Spirit did not give you that strange interpretation.” When people blame the Spirit for things they say or do, it is especially sad because the Spirit of Truth can never be caught up in a lie.
Third, the Spirit will be with us forever. That is especially good news. It means that human circumstances do not deter or hinder the Spirit from being with us. The corona virus cannot evict the Spirit from the temple of our hearts. Our isolation does not diminish the Spirit in our lives. Our inability to come together for worship does not mean that the Spirit of Christ is absent. Jesus is, as he promised, with us whenever two or three are gathered in his name. And here, Jesus promises that the Spirit will be in us and with us in all circumstances—even in quarantine.
Thanks be to God that the mysterious Spirit of Jesus is on our side, leading us to the truth, and with us in all we do. Remember our Advent word, Emmanuel? This is what it means. God is with us—in our homes, in our hearts, in our prayers, in all our lives. I pray that this will bring you comfort, no matter what you are facing today.
Pastor Clay Schmit