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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Day of Pentecost | Sunday, June 5, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  John 14:8–17, 25–27

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NRSV)

Pentecost Sunday most commonly rehearses the story of the Spirit’s descent upon the Jerusalem church in Acts 2. Details of wind and flame and tongues unloosed illustrate a vivid story about a wild spiritual intrusion into the early church community.

No doubt, this is the Spirit Jesus’ disciples were told by him to expect, the one he promised God would give them in our reading from John for today. Yet the Spirit’s activity comes across as distinct in Jesus’ preview, distinct from what we have in mind from the Pentecost story. Jesus foretells nothing about wind and flame, but instead describes a Spirit who will simply abide, who will teach and remind and be with us forever.

It feels like the Holy Spirit is doing two things at once with the church, both sending us out into a chaotic world with inspired news of God’s loving power and drawing us close to nourish and sustain us for that sending. If the former function is that of a field general, the latter is of an advocate, and that is what the Greek word used in 14:15 most closely resembles.

During my first year of pastoral ministry, I was asked by a teenager in our church to be her advocate at a school disciplinary hearing. She’d been suspended for fighting, but she’d endured weeks of threats prior to the fight, and she didn’t think the school heard her about that. I went to the hearing and spoke only briefly, when called upon by the board. I told them only what she’d told me, and I insisted I believed her. I left convinced that my presence mattered more than anything I said.

The Spirit is our advocate, present in and with us to sustain us in the bonds of communion. Our advocate keeps the words of Jesus—“I am with you always”—ever before us, to comfort us and to encourage us for the work to which we have been called—telling God’s deeds of power to the powerful and powerless alike.

Be near to us, O Advocate, so that we might draw near to all who suffer today, with companionship and compassion, the steady quiet presence of those who have been claimed and called by the power of your word. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry and Worship

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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