I’m Not Done Yet!
John 16: 12-15
Rev. Mark M. Vickers
May 22, 2016
John 16:12-15: 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
I start my Confirmation lesson on the Trinity with a simple question, “How many times is the Trinity mentioned in the Bible?” This year, 2016 at STUMC was the first year in over 15 that the question was answered correctly, “None!” For you see, the concept of the Trinity is a manmade concept, a vital, good and necessary concept in the life of the Christian faith, but it is a concept that was derived from the Gospels, most of which we have read over the past several weeks. Yet, the Trinity is an essential concept of Christian doctrine.
In the Gospel this morning, Jesus is once again talking to His disciples about “giving” them the Holy Spirit. Obviously a difficult concept to grasp for them as we have heard this theme for several weeks rear its head.
When we think about the Trinity, we have the working parts; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On a day-to-day basis, when we think about this concept it often appears to be somewhat abstract, something that we cannot always put our finger on in order to understand and/or to explain. I want to suggest to you this morning that the relationship of the Trinity signifies a “pure relationship.” We make it a lot harder than it needs to be, but that is human nature, just as it was for the disciples, it is for us as well.
For you see, the abstract relationship of the Trinity, God as a distant God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then Jesus came under the auspices of the “full, perfect, sufficient, revelation” of who God is and what God does!” In the words of Will Willimon, “Jesus became the scary part of God. Jesus Christ is too close for comfort; God is up close and personal!!”
So you see, we as humans, as Christians don’t always know how to act in a situation like that. We don’t know what to do when God is “up in our face!” We tend to want the God that is distant, away, and hopefully dealing with someone else and not us. My longtime friend, Kirk Oldham, UM Pastor to the campus at NCSU and director of The Wesley Foundation in Raleigh, used to say in Divinity school, “That’s fine for the Bible, but what about for today?” It was a phrase that always called me into action and brought me to a new understanding of what God in the present form was really supposed to be like.
One commentator put it this way, “The Trinity is God in action, and the Trinity is God on the move!” In our Gospel lesson this morning, Jesus is so determined to remain a part of the disciples’ life, it scares the disciples! It is a hard concept to unwrap. Jesus, even though He is truly gone, is attempting to tell His disciples that He will always be with them, but there is more to come and more to offer as life goes on. We, as today’s disciples, need to hear and comprehend the same message. Jesus says that He is going to send the Holy Spirit to keep us connected. We, still today, are struggling with that connection. But it is an active part of our life as Christians to determine and persevere as those who desire to be connected. What we must remember is that “God is the present, active, communicating Holy Spirit!” It is the three in one package.
Therefore, I want to suggest to us, that it is present in this text this morning the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are relationally active! God the Father sends the Son, Father and Son send the Holy Spirit, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send the Church!
Thus, we as the Church had better be ready to be surprised when “they” show up in our life and we need to be ready to ask the question, “What should we do?”
The question then becomes, “Can we keep us with the wild life of the Spirit?” As the church are we prepared to go alongside and work with the rummaging and ravaging work of the Holy Spirit? So we find ourselves constantly reminded in scripture that the pattern of life in the Church is NOT REGULATED by us but by God’s work through the Holy Spirit in us!
Because we are the Church, we will ask the questions “What should we do?” Then, we will have to be courageous enough to respond!
So my friends, the work and the concept of the Holy Spirit is always with us. As we move through this year, it is my prayer that we seek deeply to be the church that responds with courage and faithfulness to the work of the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and God the Son!
AMEN and AMEN!