Acts 16:9-15; John 14:23-29
I will send a Paraclete and it means so much more than Advocate. In the Greek Paraclete can mean comforter, encourager, helper, advocate or counselor. It has such a deeper meaning in translating it into English we loose so much. All of this is resurrection words.
We have walked in John as Jesus is encountered by Mary in the garden and she doesn't want to let him go, but must. As the disciples first see him in an upper room and are scared, Peace be with you. Then he returns to show himself to Thomas and he believes because Jesus reached out to him. Then we are fishing and encounter Jesus on the shore for breakfast. A comfort, an encouragement, a counselor who tells them to go and continue even though he is not there with them.
We see it too in the Acts passage. Come, help us and then once they do come Paul is invited into Lydia's home. Come be a part, come have a companion, come. It is a basic need we all have. The need to have someone to share things with the need to have someone to comfort us, the need to be truly seen for who we are.
When I was in Lui South Sudan my resting place and learning place was in the kitchen. The outdoor kitchen was the gathering place. A place where the hardships were shared. A place where I could be and just listen to the Moru tongue around me. A place where I was encouraged to learn Moru starting like a child with eyes, ears, nose, mouth. We would laugh as I tried to make the sounds and we shared a companionship of love and concern for one another. It was where I almost set the camp on fire as I thought I had observed well enough how to start the charcoal fire and caught the grass too well.
Companionship was made there with many who came to visit, with the women who cooked for us and we shared. Shared story, shared in encouraging one another, shared in the sorrows of life and shared in laughter. Companionship a world away and also near.
The Holy Spirit is the bringer of all of this and it is manifest outwardly and inwardly. In those times when we experience deep peace and rightness in the world. When a friend comforts us when sad, or we laugh together, or when someone encourages us in a hard thing. This work is our work to do in the world. Just as Lydia did with Paul, just as Paul responded to a dream. What ways have you seen it at work in your own life. Those precious confirmations we are not alone, but have God working in us for the life of the world.