Easter VI

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. The is the Spirit of truth … You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you”

Another way of speak of this advocatus is to say that there will come an “other helping presence. ”Helping – Presence. A definition of presence is: PRESENCE = THE WHOLE IS ENTIRELY PRESENT IN ANY OF ITS PARTS. God is calling us to be present in all our parts to Him just as He is entirely present to the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is not telling us to “be good” on our own and then settling back on his throne in heaven to critique our behavior. No Jesus is not scoring us, Jesus leads our cheering squad, he is the head booster of all who believe in him. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” … “He has such a strong identity with the advocate that, Jesus can say that he himself will return.” [pg. 434 Andreas Kostenberger]

What Jesus has in the Father, the Holy Spirit – that enduring, helping presence is present to provide a way for us to enter the same integrity.

Thomas Brodie, in his commentary on the Gospel of John, writes, that a “Spirit-led union: how ordinary people begin to discover God in themselves. Jesus’ closeness to God, as described in 14:1-11, is not some exotic showpiece, to be preserved so to speak in a museum; it is above all a way, in other words, a way for other people. Consequently, Jesus now goes on 12-20 to indicate how others arrive at, or are brought to, a similar closeness.

Just because it is available to all does not mean that it is easy.

Though the heart is naturally oriented toward making this discovery, a human being has serious weaknesses or wounds, and there are many patterns of action and thought which in various ways clog the workings of the heart and prevent it from seeing….

We have to learn to pay attention.

The meditation and pain reduction researcher, Dr. John Kabt-Zinn, says that meditation involves “purposefully refining our capacity for paying attention, ultimately to anything and everything that might be relevant to navigating in the world with open eyes and hearts.”

This man was in an accident (work accident, not car accident), so he filled out an insurance claim. The insurance company contacted him and asked for more information. This was his response:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put ‘poor planning’ as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following detail will be sufficient. I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the now un-needed tools and material down by hand,

I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using a pulley, which was fortunately attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower. Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 pounds of tools. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds. Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower.

In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind. I let go of the rope …

2 basic levels of meditation.

1. Concentration – when you begin to focus, he said “two elements come quickly to the fore. One is that the mind has a life of its own and tends to go all over the place. By cultivating paying attention, you can become less reactive and agitated.

2. Mindfulness – Then if you bring a certain kind of open, moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness to what you’re attending to, you’ll begin to develop a more penetrative awareness that sees beyond the surface of what’s going on in your field of awareness. Mindfulness makes it possible to see connections that may not have been visible before. But seeing these connections doesn’t happen as a result of trying — it simply comes out of the stillness.”

A man wrote a letter to the IRS saying, “I have been unable to sleep knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. I have understated my taxable income and have enclosed a check for $150. If I still can’t sleep, I will send the rest.

 The Book of Common Prayer —- Prayers of the People Form II – We pray for those that seek God that they find and be found by him.

That is the prayer of all the faithful. We look for God, “groping for him,” as Paul puts it in his address in Athens at the Areopagus. As Peter tells his readers, the resurrection validates the claims and promises of Jesus.

We are not alone, we have an advocate, another abiding presence who is with us and in us. All we need do is awaken  is already true!