How would you describe the Holy Spirit? How do you perceive it? Is it an amorphous entity somewhere out there? Or is it near and close to you?
John, in his Gospel, calls the Holy Spirit a Paraclete. Paraclete has a range of meanings that are reflected in the different Bible versions as Advocate, Comforter, Companion, Counselor, and Helper. Each one of these expresses an aspect of the Holy Spirit. All of them are derived from the basic meaning “to come along side another.” The Holy Spirit helps us, stands up for us, encourages us, and does not leave us when we are having a hard time.
According to John, Jesus says that God will send the disciples “another Paraclete.” (John 14: 16) If we take John’s account seriously, and Jesus is the first Paraclete, then the Holy Spirit also is like Jesus. The Spirit is sent in Jesus’ name and reminds us of his teachings. If we have trouble conceptualizing the Spirit we need only look at Jesus’ life and ministry. The Spirit’s characteristics and nature are those of Jesus.
It follows then that all of us have seen the Holy Spirit. We see the Spirit every time someone acts with the compassion and love of Jesus. We see the Spirit every time someone stands up for another. We see the Spirit every time someone walks with another through adversity. We see the Spirit every time someone feeds the hungry and provides clean water. We see the Spirit every time someone comforts another. We do see the Spirit.
I encourage you to walk through today and this week looking for the Holy Spirit. You may see the Spirit in your life, that of a loved one, or a stranger. You might see the Spirit at work in the life of Trinity or in the greater community of Martin. Where will you see the Spirit this week?
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.” – John 14:15-17
“I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you. “
– John 14:25-26 (Common English Bible)