The Spirit of Truth
- Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22-31
- Psalm 8 (or Canticle 2 or 13)
- Romans 5:1-5
- John 16:12-15
Jesus tells his friends he will be leaving them so that the Spirit of truth whom he will send from the Father will come to them. The Spirit of truth will judge the sin of the world, affirm that Jesus is with the Father, and prove that God condemns the powers of evil. The Spirit of truth can be found in the glory of the Lord that is revealed in three persons.
Yes, this is the Sunday that many preachers (and teachers) dread. How to explain the Trinity, the God is one God but in three persons?
The Trinity is an expression of how God is known and experience by humanity. We can know God through creation. Wisdom (Sophia) is personified as a woman similar to the spirit (or “wind from God”) mentioned in today’s reading from Proverbs. Wisdom was the first of God’s creation (Genesis 1:2) to take part in the creative process, working beside God “like a master worker” (Proverbs 8:30). Psalm 8 also speaks of the joy of creation, of which Wisdom rejoices and delights.
Jesus has been sent by God, whose intention for the created world is reflected in Jesus’ actions and attitudes. Jesus declares the nature of God through his earthly ministry. He brought comfort to the people and was their advocate while on earth. As he returned to his Father, he promised another advocate that would continue to witness to the truth that Jesus had done and shared.
This ‘new’ advocate, the Holy Spirit, would be the gift given to the Apostles to continue Jesus’ work, just as it is given to us to continue the ministry of Jesus in the world today. While the Spirit does not bring anything new to us (or had it to the Apostles), it sustains us and opens us up to new understanding despite our limitations.
For the past fifty-plus days (since Easter) we have gone deeper into our relationship with God. In Holy Week we experienced how Jesus died for our sins. At Easter we celebrated his resurrection to new life. On Ascension we were reminded that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, continuing to be our intercessor with God. Last week, Pentecost, we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit who moved in creation, gave life and soul to humanity, was with Jesus throughout his life on earth, and fell upon the Apostles to continue that ministry. Today we reaffirm that God is with us – as Creator, Redeemer (Jesus), and Sustainer (Holy Spirit).
- How has the world’s understanding of God been changed by the work of the Holy Spirit?
- Why is it better (or not) to have the Spirit’s presence than to have Jesus’ physical presence? What can the Spirit do that Jesus could not?
- What have your encounters with the Holy Spirit been like?
- What is your own understanding of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity?
- How can Trinity Sunday lead you to deeper discipleship in your own life?