Sixth Sunday of Easter

GUIDED BY THE SPIRIT

By: Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

In our gospel this week Jesus tells his disciples, “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The Holy Spirit here is identified as, “the Advocate.” This Advocate will remain with the disciples after Jesus returns to his Father in heaven and will continue to teach and guide the disciples as they proclaim Christ’s message to all the nations so all may believe in Him.

Elizabeth A. Johnson is a theologian who speaks throughout her written works about the importance of communion and interconnectivity in God, with God, and with one another. In her book, She Who Is, Johnson reminds us that the Trinity is rooted firmly in relationship. The relationality that is found in God cannot be separated from God’s divine nature. The mystery of the Triune God is found in the deep connection that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share.

In scripture there are many names for the Holy Spirit and all of them emphasize the relationship between God and God’s people. The Holy Spirit is often referenced in female language. Such as Spirit Sophia who is Wisdom, and spoken of as sister, mother, hostess, and guide. Shekinah (also female), derived from the Hebrew word shakhan meaning “to dwell,” who accompanied the Israelites throughout their exile as a source of light and encouragement. And the Advocate, present in our gospel today, who counsels and acts as Christ’s presence in the world. All of these names and qualities of the Spirit remind us that God remains with each one of us at all times and is a constant force within the greater world.

If the Holy Spirit is God’s unseen presence moving throughout the world, then we as believers are called to respond by fostering relationships that allow others to feel the love of God. Like the Holy Trinity, we as a people, a Church, and society cannot function if we do not manifest relationships that are rooted in love. The Church would not be what it is today if Jesus’ disciples had not responded to the guiding hand of the Advocate. It is a blessing that God is living and moving within our world because of the Holy Spirit. May each one of us recognize this presence in our own lives and have the courage to accept the love we receive and share it with others.

Sunday’s Readings: Acts 15.1-2, 22-29; Revelation 21.10-14, 22-23; John 14.23-29

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