A Note from our Conference Minister
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you”
These words that Jesus spoke to the disciples, Jesus also speaks to us. In these days of pandemic, racial tension, protests and looting, it can be hard to feel and find the presence of God. The solution, however, is not to shrink from our call to love God with our hearts, minds, souls and strength, nor from our call to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our call is to move into these challenges to love with the knowledge that we are not alone – we are never alone.
Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost Sunday, often noted as the birth of the church, when we recall the gift of the Holy Spirit. But Pentecost is not just a day. Pentecost is a season – a time of recalling how much God loves us – so much that God provides ongoing support and empowerment to us through the Advocate about whom Jesus taught.
An advocate is defined as “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.” To be an advocate of God, therefore, is to be an advocate of love, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy, and hope. To be an advocate for God is to share that love, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, joy and hope with the world. In these challenging days, weeks and months, it can seem difficult to have enough strength to offer anyone, even ourselves that love and blessing. We can get weary. I, too, get weary, with the strain of social-distancing, separation from family, the challenges of the racial strife in our nation and the violence and brutality being perpetrated.
This week I had the opportunity to hear a sermon by the Right Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church which was offered on Pentecost. Within the sermon was a call to action to keep up the work of the church, the work of Jesus. He quoted the African-American Spiritual There is a Balm in Gilead “If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus, who died to save us all. There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin-sick soul.”1
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need that balm for my soul. I needed the reminder that I am not alone. We all need the reminder that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit is poured over us yesterday, today and in all the years to come. May that knowledge be the balm for your spirit in these days.
1 - New Century Hymnal