Lectionary Year B
Pentecost Sunday

June 8, 2003
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Hermeneutical Bridge


Jesus is in the midst of announcing that he is going away. But the story of "GOD WITH US" will not come to an end. Jesus will send the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will guide the disciples into all truth-- even truth that is too hard for them to bear at present. The Spirit will convince the world that it is wrong in rejecting Jesus, and in rebelling against/ ignoring God. The Spirit will act as "interpreter" of all that the Father and the Son have and are.

Theological Center of gravity:
"Emmanuel" still means "God with us"-- in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit ("Comforter", "Helper", "Advocate", etc.) will lead the disciples into all the truth about God and Jesus.


Many Presbyterians where I live and minister (Lower Rio Grande Valley) are very ambivalent about Pentecost. This is an area where the "charismatic"/"pentecostal" churches are quite vibrant, and in some cases have made inroads into Presbyterian congregations. The need for some fire and spectacle in some of those congregations aside-- this pericope reminds us of something else in Pentecost. Jesus kept his promise to his disciples, and sent the Spirit. In the Spirit, he was indeed with them as they preached in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth.

Pentecost is a time to remember that God is still with us in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. The story of salvation, and healing, and transformation continues! The Trinity has not changed. The situations confronting the Church have. Each congregation will have its own thorny questions to confront, and the "answers" are not often neatly packaged in a "proof text" of Scripture: "What do we say to the teenage single mother who asks to have her baby baptized?" "MY Jesus would NEVER do that!!" "Do we just close down our church...or find a way to minister in this neighborhood that is now filled with people completely different from us?"

The Spirit was given to lead us "into all truth", to "convince the world", etc. What are the questions and struggles in our congregations? How might we be open to the leading of the Paraclete? (Scripture? Answers to prayer? Circumstances, the opening and closing of doors? The corporate voice of God's people?)

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