Monday, 25 May 2015

I am with you always.

Loneliness is probably the biggest affliction that besets human beings and it comes in two forms – one much more apparent than the other – but they are related to each other.
One is the loneliness one feels when we have no human contact or inter-action – that sense of isolation and lack that can eat into your soul.
There is also a kind of cosmic loneliness where as a human being we feel alone and isolated in a cold unfeeling universe where no-one cares, no one loves us and in the end all we ever were is just destroyed by our own death anyway. 
At it very root you know, Christianity addresses those two kinds of loneliness head on. In the end, Christianity is not so much a set of rules to follow and creeds to recite, but at root a relationship.
A relationship with God the Father through Jesus His Son, and maintained by the power of the Holy Spirit. We get access to God through a relationship with Jesus. How is that achieved but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
So you see the Holy Spirit is indispensible to the Christian faith. Without the Spirit in your heart you cannot see the truth of Jesus who leads us into the mystery of God.
When the disciples had Jesus with them I’m sure everything was bearable even if things were difficult because it was like having your big brother always there with you to shield you, guide you, fight your battles for you, give you advice etc..
When Jesus was killed in the flesh can you imagine what the disciples must have felt like? Well, we don’t have to imagine, because it is well documented. They were grief stricken, frightened and demoralised and they fled.
What brought them back together and galvanised them into the greatest evangelistic force the world has ever seen? Two things!
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead and Jesus sending the Holy Spirit in his place to be with us for evermore.
And that second bit is what Pentecost is all about. We are celebrating the fact that God Himself is with us for evermore and will never let us go. It is the Holy Spirit that brings Jesus close to us as our brother and friend. It is the Holy Spirit that comes alongside us, guides us, strengthens us and mentors us in the same way that Jesus did for the disciples when He was alive in the flesh.
It is the Holy Spirit that accomplishes Jesus’ famous promise at the end of Matthew’s gospel “I am with you always until the end of the age”. It is the Holy Spirit that accomplishes this which is also known as the Spirit of Jesus. 
This essentially is what the passage in John really means in real terms.
Jesus also says that the Holy Spirit will convince people of the sinfulness of their actions in engineering the murder of Jesus, and that He will convince us of Jesus’ righteousness, and the fact that we will have to face God face to face one day to account for our actions.
Of course as Christians, we have no fear of this because we know that the love of God demonstrated on the cross is so all forgiving, all knowing and righteous that if we place our trust in his atoning sacrifice we have no fear – only love and gratitude.
The Spirit - by working in us and through us will bring glory to Jesus. Achieving that one thing is the most extraordinary achievement of the Holy Spirit
It is the most glorious work of the Holy Spirit that He has convinced Christians that the executed Jewish criminal Jesus was and is the son of God. An extraordinary thing when you think about it.
So the Spirit is in our hearts and reminds us that we are never truly alone but always connected to God, the creator and redeemer of the whole universe.
And in the church we are called to remedy that other bane of our lives, the spiritual loneliness that keeps us separate from others.
We are members, one of another, of the church which is the body of Christ. How? We are one body because of the Holy Spirit that binds us.

“Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.”  

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