Easter VI, 2023

The Easter season comes to its closing chapters, but it does not end with a whimper but with fire and Spirit. Pentecost is the bookend of this festal season we we are starting to look forward to that wonderful festival. I think of it rather as drawing closer and closer to a city at night. The light grows on the horizon as we draw near. Pentecost with its Spirit-filled church and energy pull us forward as much as Easter’s resurrection joy and wonder propel us.

Jesus promises us another Helper today, or at least that is the way that the ESV translates that difficult word: Paraclete. It has many translations and a wide semantic range. The preacher will want to be aware of all of that. There are many discussions of the meaning of that word. I commend you to the one that is on your bookshelf.

The best part of Jesus’ promise is that we are not left as orphans. I think the American Church today often feels rather abandoned by God, orphaned in a world of hostile ideologies. That says much more about us than it does about God, but the feeling is real and presents the preacher with an opportunity. God has given us Christ in a much better way than the disciples who walked with Jesus in Galilee had Him. We may long to see, touch, and experience as John and Peter did, but in truth, we know Him better. We have the Spirit. The disciples are regularly portrayed as a little thick when Jesus says something. Have you ever noticed that? You and your hearers can see where they are blind. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean our eyes are not sometimes blind too, but that is job security for preachers. It is why the Gospel needs to be proclaimed today too. That Spirit is at work.

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