We have been drawing from the St. James the Less book group for inspiration to see how the writings of Rachel Held Evans bring the gospel to life.
The Gospel for Pentecost, John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Jesus said to his disciples, ”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. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But 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. Nevertheless 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. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When 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. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Note: The term the Advocate refers to the Holy Spirit, also known as the Paraclete. Another term for the Advocate is helper. In Chapter 10 of Searching for Sunday--What Have We Done--Rachel Held Evans shares a litany of sins taken place in the name of God and balances it with a litany of mercy. She pays homage to these Advocates:
- Ambrose, who defied the empire by blocking the door of his church until Emperor Theodosius had repented of his violence.
- The desert fathers and mothers who fled the violence and excess of the empire to inspire generations to live more simply and deliberately.
- John Huss, who spoke out against the church’s sale of indulgences, protested the Crusades, and was burned at the stake for obeying his conscience.
- Teresa of Avila, who overcame opposition from the aristocracy and the church to advance sweeping monastic reforms.
- Pedro Claver, the Jesuit priest who devoted his life to serving the black slaves of Colombia, especially those suffering from leprosy and smallpox brought by their conquerors.
- Anne Hutchinson, who knew it was illegal for women to teach from the Bible in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but did it anyway.
- William Wilberforce, who channeled his evangelical fervor into abolishing slavery in the British Empire, vowing “never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name.
- For Sojourner Truth, who proclaimed her own humanity in a culture that did not recognize it.
- For Maximilian Kolbe, the Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in the place of a Jewish stranger at Auschwitz.
- For the pastors, black and white, who inked arms with Martin Luther King Jr. and marched on Washington.
- For Rosa Parks, who kept her seat.
For all who did the right thing even when it was hard, we give thanks.
From Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans; published by Nelson Books © 2015, pp. 77-78.
Interested in hearing more of Rachel Held Evans? Join us for Book Club on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. as Fr. Rock and friends delve into Searching For Sunday. Any and all area invited. You can pick up where we are; no preparation necessary.
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