Published on May 19th, 2020 | by God's Squad DNA team0
The Spirit of change, John 16:12-15. May 20,2020 by Buckshot
Kia ora koutou katoa; greetings, peace and good health to you all.
In New Zealand we have just had our covid 19 restrictions eased, change is happening and we are learning again how to live a little more like we used to, but not fully free yet. Change brings opportunity for growth, but can also increase our anxiety and fear.
Our gospel today is four short verses from the book of John, chapter 16, verses 12-15. Today on the church calendar is the ‘Vigil of the Eve of Ascension day” – a real mouthful letting us know that tomorrow we remember the day Jesus left his disciples and returned to heaven. Times of change, fear maybe and opportunity to grow up.
This idea of ascension and leaving the disciples fits in well with the text we have also. These four verses are a small part of the after dinner talk Jesus gave on the night before he was executed. This speech is part of the last supper event when Jesus modeled servant-hood, not slavery, to his followers.
Our verses are a little mysterious as they talk of the Spirit, the father and Jesus. More change – but I think Jesus is preparing his followers for the radical change of first his death, but then later his actual leaving them alone to be without him.
He begins “I still have many things to say to you, but they would be too much for you to bear now ……..but when the Spirit comes, he will help you”. This sounds like a parent preparing a teenager to leave home, you have much more to learn in life but you are not mature enough yet to bear the full weight of responsibility, but you will grow into it. Mum won’t be with you, but the ‘spirit’ and training we have given you will be.
Jesus speaks of his going to the Father and the spirit coming to help. A hint towards the ‘trinitarian’ idea that Christians believe God is three separate persons operating as one being. This is a big idea, too big for now, but crucial to the way we understand how God operates in the creation. At the end of his talk in chapter 17 John records Jesus praying “Father make them one, as we are one” – this is an invitation for us to join in the creative conversation, the communal dance that the Father, Son and Spirit have going on. God is not an isolated perfect unquestionable ONE, God is three operating as one community inviting us to join in with them.
As we dance together we will step on toes and kick shins, but as this creative chaos goes on we will learn that we don’t like hurting each other. The Spirit will help us to find ways to grow up from dependent children to mature adults longing to love each other deeply. In this process, God will be glorified.
These lessons are best learned by practice and the experience of traveling together, of dancing together. During this ongoing time of change may we continue to trust in the Spirit to bring about the beautiful things of Jesus among us. Let’s stick with the dance, stick with journey to experience the fruit that will come.
Buckshot – Wellington chapter, New Zealand