Jesus said to his friends, “I will not leave you orphaned, but I will send another Advocate to be with you…”
Around our nation families are making arrangements for the care of their children should the parents suddenly be taken away. Moms and dads are talking to their children to comfort them in this time of fear. “Don’t worry, little ones. Even if I go away suddenly, I’ve made arrangements for you. We’ve got legal papers drawn up, and our attorney will be there for you. She’s only a phone call away. She’ll be your advocate and comforter. We’ve given her instructions to share with you if we’re unable to do so. She’ll stand with you and speak on your behalf, and she’ll also help you to express yourself if you’re in trouble or danger. Don’t forget that you’ve got aunts and uncles, church grammas and grampas who will help you as you grow up. They know us really well, and you can trust them to guide you well. Even if we aren’t here to give you the hugs that you need, their arms will convey our love. We will not leave you orphanos. You are never alone. We love you more than life itself, and we carry you always in our hearts. And you know our love for you. Even if we seem far away, we are always in your heart, too.“
You may or may not be in imminent danger of being arrested, deported, incapacitated, or dying. But anyone who goes away from their loved ones for even a short period of time knows that it’s at those times when we share our most important values with those we love. We always want our loved ones to be aware of our love for them.
Jesus is no different. He shared as much as he could with his dear ones, and promised to send the Holy Spirit (Paraclete/Advocate/Comforter/Counselor) to us in his absence. This past Sunday we celebrated the pouring out of that Spirit upon “all flesh”. The Feast of Pentecost is marked as the birthday of the Church, when Jesus’ promise was fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled daily. When we feel abandoned, lonely, fearful, cut off or separated, even orphaned, this simple act of gathering together and sharing our stories of faith is a powerful witness to the way that Christ is present in our midst and in all the world as the Spirit of Love.
We are called to be the tangible presence of the Holy One, to be the aunts and uncles, the advocates and comforters, the teachers and counselors for those who yearn for connection and community. YOU are the Body of Christ, co-Creators and stewards of creation, conveying warmth, light and power in the fire of the Spirit.
Veni Sancte Spiritus. Come, Holy Spirit.