Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Scripture for the Day: John 14:25-26

I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

When I was in seminary, I served as a chaplain intern at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was an incredibly formative time as I navigated my identity as pastor and ministered to patients in their sick rooms and families struggling with grief. While most of my days were spent in direct patient care, I also engaged in group reflection, individual supervision and family systems theory as part of the learning process. My supervisor, Rev. James Pollard, reminded our group to be courageous and vulnerable on our journeys of spiritual growth and self-discovery. He said, “You have to sort out all the voices in your head, so you can hear more clearly the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

These days there are a lot of competing voices vying for our attention. The yelling gets louder every election season, but this year we are confronted by a global pandemic, economic crisis and the reality of police brutality and racial injustice. It can feel like the Holy Spirit is silenced by social media posts, foreign influence possibilities and opposing political party lines. Therefore, we commit to education, conversation and action through projects like Better When We Are Back Together: 21 Day Race Equity Challenge from Myers Park Presbyterian Church. We renew our dedication to spiritual disciplines like daily devotionals and regular prayer. In doing so, we seek to discern the Holy Spirit’s voice amidst the cacophony of noises in our heads and on our screens.

The passage for today offers Jesus’ last words to his disciples before he is crucified. He speaks of the “The Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name” and says the Spirit “will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” As we labor together in discernment this season and beyond, these verses are a head start on hearing the Holy Spirit. The Advocate tells us what Jesus has already taught. The Holy Spirit leads us where Jesus has already begun the work. The Holy Spirit is always the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. And what does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.

Holy Spirit of God in Christ, help us to discern your voice that speaks to us today. Help us not forget your call on our lives, to take up our cross and follow you. In Christ, AMEN.

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