16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This 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.
25”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, 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. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 14:16-17, 25-27
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said?
- Why is this happening/being said?
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it?
- What does it mean?
- What does it mean for us?
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
Reflection: This Sunday (along with Christmas Day and Easter Sunday) is one of the three high holy days of the Christian year, The Day of Pentecost. This is the day on which we celebrate the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus who remained in faithful prayer after the ascension of Jesus into the heavens. Many consider this day to be the “birthday” of the Church. The Holy Spirit was promised to all those who would follow Jesus, to be with them in his place. Whereas Jesus could only be with a relatively small number of people at one time, the Holy Spirit could be with all disciples at all times all around the world. Notice in the image above that there are persons receiving the Holy Spirit who are representing different skin colors, different nationalities, and both men and women. The Holy Spirit is for all and with all who follow Christ. The Holy Spirit is with you – even now. How might you respond to the Holy Spirit’s presence today?
Prayer Focus: From May 10th through May 20th, the worldwide United Methodist Church is meeting for the 2016 General Conference to discuss the ministry of the Church and to discern both God’s calling upon the Church and God’s mission for the Church. It is also a time to celebrate what God is doing in and through the people called Methodist around the globe. This is a time to pause, give thanks to God for his faithfulness, and respond in both worship and a renewed sense of kingdom-readiness. Delegates from across the world (including the South Georgia Conference!) are gathering in Portland, Oregon for this important work. Pray that the Holy Spirit will fall upon those gathered together for this task of holy conferencing, just as the Spirit did in the days of apostles. Imagine the fire of the Spirit then spreading from Oregon in all directions to all corners of creation. May God daily renew the United Methodist Church with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
Meditation Focus: What does it mean to say that God is with us? Jesus was referred to in prophecy as Immanuel, or “God with us.” This idea of God’s closeness to us remains in the way in which Jesus describes the Holy Spirit to his disciples. When referring to the Holy Spirit in this week’s passage, the Greek word parakletos is used. Parakletos literally means “the one who walks beside (us/me).” Pause for a moment; take a few deep breaths and ask God to quiet your heart and mind. Can you sense the presence of the Holy Spirit with you? Do you feel as if you are not alone, but in the presence of someone holy, loving, and powerful? Ask God to heighten your awareness of the Holy Spirit. Read the quote below from St. Patrick. Allow the Holy Spirit to engulf you, putting you into connection with the grace of Christ from all directions and breaking down all of your defenses. Be caught up in the Spirit of God, who is with you always and drawing you deeply into the love of God.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.*
Journaling Focus: Reread verse 27 above. What is peace? How does the world give peace? How does Christ give peace differently than the world gives it? Recount a time in which you experienced the peace of Christ. Why were you in need of peace? How did you experience peace? Where did this peace come from and how did you know when it came to you? Peace is not a feeling but a gift from God in Christ; it is a gift you can share. How might you be a peace-bearer in the world around you? Who do you know who might need to experience peace today? Commit to leading others into the peace of Christ in the manner in which Christ has given peace to you – through practicing forgiveness, active compassion, and loving encouragement. Always remember, the Spirit of peace is with you working the peacemaking of God through you. Shalom!
Breath Prayer: Father, send your Spirit to me (us).
*St. Patrick, as found on https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/413139-christ-with-me-christ-before-me-christ-behind-me-christ