Sunday, May 23, 2010

Come Holy Advocate, Our Defender and Hope

This morning, Pentecost, I listened to the Gospel lesson (John 14:8-17, 25-27) and was reminded once again of the legal terms in our faith. An "Advocate" is the lawyer who defends the accused before the judge. ("Counselor" is another word that comes up in regard to the Holy Spirit---another term associated with lawyers.) Jesus promises that while he'll be leaving the disciples, he will not leave them alone but will send the Advocate to be with them always.

The word "satan" is also a legal term, translatable as "adversary." This is the lawyer that brings the accusation before the judge. It is Satan who accuses Job of not being such a faithful person, who makes a case against Job that Job is faithful only because he has an easy life.

These were my musings even as I listened to my pastor rightly discuss the ongoing movement and transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. My mind kept going back to the law and the grace that protects us from it's condemnation.

So, nothing new or profound here. Just a quiet reflection on all the ways I do not live up to the new commandment Jesus gave us just a few chapters earlier in John's gospel (chapter 13 for those checking). On Maundy Thursday, I heard the new commandment: Love one another. Despite the resurrection power of Easter, I remain woefully inadequate to fulfill this commandment. But it is God's kindness and goodness that leads us to repentance and, look, Jesus promises the goodness of an advocate who, despite all evidence, will argue for our innocence.

And so I'm compelled to pray:

Come Holy Advocate, our defender and hope. You show us such mercy and goodness, give us such hope of acceptance, that we fall down in worship and praise. Now, help us rise up and turn around. By your kindness and mercy, lead us in this new discipline of loving one another. Come Holy Advocate, and renew us once again.

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