Present always

John 14:15-21

Jesus farewell in John's gospel leaves us all taking in the words and instructions. The paraclete will come to each of them. They will not be left alone, they will not be left desolate, they will not be left wanting more because this comforter will come alongside them. How often do we remember all the words and actions in our baptism? This scripture today makes me think of this.

In baptism the last thing we do is after the water has been poured over the candidate we take the oil and seal them, as Christ's own forever. The seal of the Holy Spirit, the seal of this comforter, the seal of being walked alongside all our lives. Do we recognize this? Do we even notice it?

The Holy Spirit is a topic we usually shy away from. We have a hard time understanding this part of the Trinity. We might picture any number of things for the Holy Spirit. Paul's sermon today to the Athenians was a work of Spirit. He came alongside their culture, using it to proclaim God in the face of an unknown god. It is also in the quote he uses from philosophy, "In him we live and move and have our being". This example is Spirit. It is nothing tangible. It is inner. 

We are sealed at baptism to recognize we are always Christ's. We are always claimed as a part of being, having this relationship with Spirit. It is something we are to listen to when we are trying to discern a way forward. It is the inner voice along the road in reflection. As one of the brothers put it from The Society of St. John the Evangelist, "look more deeply, stay with the object you are looking at for awhile." In other words, come alongside and just be present.

This Spirit is what we are to look for out beyond ourselves, in others. In other voices which come alongside us. On the street in acts of kindness and in the struggle of life. The Awakening in the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri was about this. Our Presiding Bishop comes alongside and encourages us to know certain things about revival. Reviving relationship, knowing we are one part or branch of the Jesus movement, that love is God and that is what God is about.

The Spirits action is for all our lives. We just have to awaken ourselves to it. We talk about outreach so often, this is a reaching within. In morning study we have been looking at John's epistles. You can't read any of them without encountering the word children. We are God's children in baptism, nothing we can do separates us from that love. This is the promise of Jesus today, this is the promise written in the epistles and it is written on us. Can we notice those times we live and move and have our being in God? Can we notice the times when our prayers contain sighs to deep for words? Can we recognize the Holy Spirit coming alongside us in people, in silence, in ourselves? We are Christ's own forever, if you believe.