ST JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Spirit of Truth
for the week of May 23, 2021 (The Day of Pentecost!)
Youth & Up mini-retreat
What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.
1) Begin with a transition time - Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc.) - a time to change gears.
2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.
Our focus for this class = The Spirit of Truth
Sunday's Gospel, on the Day of Pentecost, is John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15:
26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
4But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.
7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
There's so much to unpack here! Let's walk together through some of what Jesus is saying.
Jesus promised his disciples that when he left them and they "would see him no longer" (16:10), he would not leave them "comfortless" of "orphaned" (depends on the translation). Jesus tells them that he will send to them, from the Father, an Advocate - a Spirit of truth - who will glorify Jesus, because he will "take what is mine [Jesus'] and declare it" (16:14b) to the disciples. This Spirit of truth will guide them into "all the truth", and will "declare to you the things that are to come." (16:13)
Jesus points out that this Advocate/Spirit of truth will not come unless Jesus goes away.
Okay, what's an Advocate? Wordsense.com tells us that this word comes from Latin. As a noun, an advocate is a person who argues for or presents a case for somebody, or who is a speaker in support of something. (As a verb, advocate means to do those things.)
What will the Advocate/Spirit of truth do?
He will testify on Jesus' behalf (the disciples, who knew Jesus from the start, will testify, too).
Here are 3 more things that this Spirit will do:
He will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement (16:8):
about sin, because they do not believe in me (sin = separation from God; unbelief)
about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; "human righteousness is made possible through faith in Christ and participation in Christ’s life by the Holy Spirit (see Romans 1:17, 5:5, 9:30)"
about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. (The "ruler of this world" = Satan/evil. We will all be judged. Make good choices!)
What else will the Spirit do, while guiding us in the way of truth?
Want to learn more, and/or talk about these truths? Pray! And reach out to Fr John!
PS Take another look at the last sentences of this reading: 14He [the Spirit] will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.15All that the Father has is mine [Jesus']. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. So there's God-the-Father, and Jesus-the-Son, and the glorifying Spirit, intertwined. Stay tuned for next week: Trinity Sunday, one of the 7 principal feasts of the church year!
More to wonder about:
- What ways do people leave us? How do these ways feel? What is left behind?
What is the difference between people leaving us & Jesus leaving the disciples?
- Jesus said he had to leave, in order for the Spirit of truth to come to them - to comfort them in their sorrow. He said it would be to their advantage that he leave . . why?
Where did Jesus go? (Read this.)
What's so special about the Holy Spirit?
And, btw, what did Jesus also promise? (Hint: BRB)