If you knew you were about to leave your family abruptly, what would you say to them? John 14–17 essentially records Jesus’ leave-taking conversation with his disciples. We learn so much in this long discourse on the Holy Spirit that we almost miss an important point: The church serves as a testimony. Collectively, we are the body of Christ, arms spread across the seven continents.
We are Pentecost people, gathered from every nation, tribe, and tongue. The engine that propels us is the Spirit of God. Together, we testify to the way of Jesus: The way God wants us to live. Jesus Christ has been among us and we are his people, his kin, having sworn our allegiance to continue his mission.
Individually, we also testify. Jesus is the living Lord; we have seen him and been transformed by the experience. Watch him and see.
We cannot help but wonder if the Holy Spirit weeps today over the many missed opportunities and false testimonies offered in the name of God over the last two thousand years. We can do little about the past failures of the Christian family, but we can commit to testify on this day.
Holy Spirit, empower me to testify to Jesus. I covenant with my eyes to look for God’s goodness in people. I covenant with my hands to do good and with my tongue to do no harm. I covenant with my arms to reach lovingly toward those who have been cast aside and with my feet to walk in places where Jesus would walk. Holy Spirit, Holy God, today I make a covenant with you to look for opportunities to testify. Amen.
This week’s readings remind us of the powerful role of God’s Spirit. For many Christians, the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity we understand the least. In the book of Acts, the Spirit empowers the apostles on Pentecost to speak in other languages and, in so doing, initiates the establishment and missional reach of the church to the wider world. The psalmist uses a wordplay on ruach, the Hebrew word for breath or spirit, to teach us that God’s Spirit was present at Creation and is necessary for the ongoing survival of all life. Paul writes that God’s Spirit confirms that we are children of God and can approach God with confidence, not fear. Even the disciples feel uncertain about what will happen when Jesus leaves, so John provides Jesus’ assurance that God will remain with them and with us through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
• Read Acts 2:1-21. How often do you take solace in praying in private without moving to take action in the public square? Which site is the more comfortable for you?
• Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. Where have you seen evidence of nature’s resources being spent? How can you help?
• Read Romans 8:22-27. How consequential is it to you to acknowledge that God prays for us and the world? Why?
• Read John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15. What instructions do you wish Jesus had left for you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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