Guardian ad Lidem
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Pastor Mark Aune
Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away.
Think of how hard it must have been for the disciples of Jesus to hear these words. This man they loved – without fully understanding why they loved him or even who he was in their lives tells them he is leaving and it is to their advantage that he leaves.
This is contrary to our way of thinking. We hold on tight to the people we love. When we love someone we don’t want them to go. Their physical presence matters. In fact it is not a stretch to say that we often feel lost when someone we deeply love is not by our side for whatever reason.
Jesus, of course sees things differently. This is always true with Jesus. This is one of the reasons it is hard to follow him. This is one of the reasons we have difficulty understanding what he wants for us.
At this point in the story Jesus sees beyond the horizon. His followers can only see what is right in front of them which is always the case for you and me as well.
Jesus knows what is about to happen to him. He knows that the cross awaits him. He knows that death is coming and it is important for us to understand the context of his words because even as he is preparing for his own death and the fact that he will be leaving his followers, he is also telling them that everything will be alright even as he leaves.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Jesus dies. He is raised from the dead and he appears to his followers. 40 days after he dies he ascends to sit at the right hand of God and he does not leave us orphaned. He does not abandon us.
He sends the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity.
He sends the Advocate.
He sends a guardian ad litem.
Do you know what a guardian ad litem is and what they do? It is part of our judicial system.
A guardian ad litem is a person who is appointed by the court to be an advocate for a child who is involved in court proceedings.
Keep in mind now, if a child is involved in court proceedings, it means this is a child at risk,
- a child in need of help,
- a child in need of a relationship of trust that will make sure the child is taken care of in the best possible manner.
- a child in need of an advocate.
A guardian ad litem is a source of power for a child in need.
The Holy Spirit is your guardian ad litem. You are the child at risk. You are the child in need of help. You are the child in need of a relationship of trust so that you will be taken care of by God in the best possible manner.
The Holy Spirit is your advocate
- your guide,
- your comforter,
- your counselor,
- your defender,
- your spokesperson,
- your helper
Everything you need to be a follower of Jesus is given to you by your advocate.
Whatever your age, whatever your need, whatever your struggle, you have the power of God at work inside of you guiding you into the truth.
I love the way Jesus describes the advocate in the translation called The Message. Eric used this translation a couple of weeks ago in a reading from Romans. Listen to how The Message translates Jesus’ words.
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’
Jesus recognized the truth that understanding doesn’t all come at once. This was true for his disciples and it is true for us. It is a gradual process, a life-time process.
Think about your own life of faith.
Did you come to a complete and full understanding of how God works in this world and what Jesus has done for you in one day?
Did you have it all figured out when you were confirmed?
Did you have it all figured out the day you came to faith in Christ?
Have you had any setbacks over the course of your life-time that caused you to question the very presence and power of God in your life or has it all been smooth sailing for you each and every day because you have it all figured out?
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said.
The truth of Jesus is made known to us when we need it.
When we can handle it.
When we are ready for it.
The advocate, our friend, is there when we are at our most vulnerable, lost and confused. Making sense of what happens in our lives and making it possible for us to trust the promises He makes to us.
I would suggest this clarity and truth happens over the course of a life-time.
- Our understanding grows,
- our faith changes,
- it becomes stronger,
- more resilient,
- we trust more,
- we give more,
- we serve more.
We see the very presence of Jesus slowing coming into focus and we become fully aware of His power and strength and we say it is well with my soul.
Jesus does this through our friend, the Holy Spirit, our guardian ad litem, our advocate, the Spirit of Truth who takes us by the hand and guides us into all the truth there is, all the truth we need.
Thanks be to God. Amen
Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen