Lectionary Year B
June 8, 2003
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
(FS) A. SUMMARY OF SALIENT FEATURES
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.
(FS) C. HERMENEUTICAL BRIDGE
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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