Sunday, 25 May 2014

Spirit of Family

Gospel of John 14:15-21 

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth
whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows him;
but you know him,
because he is with you, he is in you.

I will not leave you orphans;
I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.

On that day you will understand that I am in my Father
and you in me and I in you.

Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’

John's Jesus speaks in a labyrinth of words. Whether they are meant to reassure or compel, it hard to tell. It is clear that Jesus is trying to get his message across that where he is going - there is Love. A love that flows freely with, through and in all of those who follow the Commandments of Love.

Here is the suggestion of God as, not only Father and Son, but as Trinity. In one breath Jesus speaks of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three Persons in One God that give Christians a deep assuredness of God’s presence in all of their lives. 

God fusses over us, as Jesus reminds us, like a hen with her chicks. So much so, that even with the tragic foreboding of the end of Jesus' earthly life, it is the spiritual wellbeing of his friends and his followers that concerns him most. Since he drew them to his side they have belonged to him; the nearness of his death elevates his sense of responsbility to that of a parent and child. He has only just promised that he will not leave them orphans. 

His desire to always be among us in the everyday and the everywhere can now be fulfilled by his gift of the Holy Spirit; the Paraclete - the One who walks Beside - an eternal companion offering unconditional love, wisdom and guidance. 

For the Jewish disciples, committed to a belief in one God, this seems the opposite of everything they were taught to believe in. Yet they had witnessed for themselves that Jesus regarded his Father as intimately as a son would love a human father. And he had taught them to do the same.

And now, the Holy Spirit – sent from both the Father and the Son to be our Advocate. Sent by the Father to stand beside us at the seat of Judgement, whilst the Son pleads our case from his right hand.  

Everything that Jesus has, he gives to us - a whirling enfolding of Love.



Kenneth Cross said...

Thank you for this meditation. I love your phrase that Jesus spoke in a 'labyrinth of words' and that he gives to us 'a whirling enfolding of love'. I hope you don't mind me quoting you tomorrow. I do pray we more and more enter Scripture as a labyrinth and as a vibrant living holy conversation in which the Divine Spirit dances rather than - as we often default to - as eternally set concrete. Peace to you! Kenneth Cross

Gelli Ma said...

Share away Kenneth - the thought came out of our scripture group. Very much about their new experience of scripture NOT being set in concrete. A challenge but a loving one. Hope it goes well tomorrow. Blessings