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Companion on the Journey

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 14:23-29 (CEB)

In John 14:23-29, Jesus was preparing his disciples for his departure.  I totally confused them, and they didn’t understand much of what he was saying until after his death, resurrection, and ascension.  We often put the pieces of the puzzle together after something has happened, and we don’t always see the blessing in our life events until we look back over the timeline of what happened.

As I think about what Jesus tells the disciples in this passage, I take comfort in his promise to not leave them without a powerful resource for living in his ways.  When I attended seminary, I remember wondering how all the pieces of history, ethics, worship, communication, Bible studies, and a number of other areas would fall into place.

Obviously, I couldn’t take my professors with me throughout the time I have been serving churches, so how was I going to put all this together and serve effectively using what I had learned?  To be honest, there were some courses that I questioned their help in my journey, but as I have moved through the twenty-plus years of ministry, I am discovering that everything really DOES mesh together.

Maybe what I’ve learned the most is that the pieces become a whole here and there.  I truly is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  All of a sudden, a piece fits, and the picture is one step closer to being completed.  Of course, in ministry, let’s face it, the picture is never completed until that day when we see Jesus face to face.

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with the disciples on their journey.  The Spirit would help them to remember what he had taught them, and they would also be able to piece together a larger picture of what it meant to carry on his ministry.

So, how do we, as followers of Jesus in this day and age figure out what it is like to have the Holy Spirit as OUR companion on the journey?  Well, when I think about my professors in seminary, I believe that the Holy Spirit worked through them to teach me about Jesus, the Bible, being in ministry, and so forth.  They were outstanding human beings who were dedicated to helping us learn and grow and become all that we could as pastors.

What I try to get across to the congregations that I serve is that the Holy Spirit works through a variety of ways to speak to us:  scriptures, prayer, friends, church folks, and a whole list of other possibilities.  Our job is to be alert and watching for the Spirit to move, to guide us, to lead us, to help us.  We are only a breath away from our Companion and the companions that God has sent to be with us on our life/faith journeys.

So often people figure that this has to be complicated, and that the Spirit will arrive in some fantastic way (like on the Day of Pentecost).  Yet, when we remember that God spoke to Elijah through the sheer silence in a still small voice, we also can be assured that the Spirit will also speak to us in many ways.  Developing or tuning our hearts so that we are receivers of those blessings will lead us in the right direction.

We are never alone.  Thanks be to God!

How do you “hear” the Holy Spirit at work in your life?

Where are some of the unusual places you have experience the Spirit at work?

How will you share that with others?

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