Easter 6 Gospel and Sermon; John 14:15-21

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(Transcript automatically generated.)

The holy Gospel according to John the
14th chapter Jesus said to the 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 this is the Spirit
of Truth whom the world cannot receive
because it neither sees him nor knows
him you know him because he abides with
you and he will be in you I will not
leave you orphans I am coming to you in
a little while the world will no longer
see me but you will see me because I
live you will also live on that day you
will know that I am in my father and you
in me and I in you they who have my
Commandments and keep them are those who
love me and those who love me will be
loved by my father and I will love them
and reveal myself to them the gospel of
the Lord in the world outside of the
church may is actually Mental Health
Awareness Month as many as one in five
and likely more even before this current
global pandemic worth living with and
surviving and finding ways to thrive
with mental health challenges things
like depression and anxiety a lot of
those mental health challenges are
escalated by stress and isolation being
cut off from support networks we can
only imagine what the Apostles might
have been going through at this period
of time where they were used to having a
beloved care
immediate present Jesus who was with
them on a daily basis teaching offering
support offering friendship and laughter
the comfort of prayer and suddenly this
Jesus was gone they experienced a sharp
sudden trauma that took Jesus away and
then Jesus was back but now telling them
again I’m going to have to leave you
this roller coaster of when will this
end what is the future going to look
like how long will we be living in the
unknown does any of that sound perhaps a
bit familiar to you we understand how
challenging it is to still feel a sense
of connection and love and support and
safety when we are in an anxious space
when we don’t have the reassurance of
physical presence but we only have to
turn on Facebook or our favorite website
or videos to understand that love is not
stopped by distance when we see a
grandchild waving to a young person when
we see our friends through an evening
zoom with drinks or dinner
we know that love is stronger than any
space that can separate us what can also
be challenging is remembering that that
love that is stronger than space is also
stronger than anxiety depression and
fear now we believe and we speak
strongly about the concept of vocation
and that God works through the
inspiration that we are given as
individuals in our regular lives and in
the regular world we like science and we
very much support the wonderful strides
that we’ve made in men
Asians in therapy in peer groups and
other forms of support admitting and
that you are struggling there is no
shame in it but admitting that you are
struggling to God is an important part
of that step and that potential process
to healing when we look at this
wonderful gospel placed just when we
need it we are told that Jesus is with
us all times and in all places even in
anxious times where we feel completely
jesus says I will not leave you orphaned
I will not leave you without a family
but Jesus doesn’t just say I’m here to
give you a sense of someone being with
you Jesus says I leave you my advocate
this is an important word because
advocate only shows up in John’s Gospel
that’s the only time the only gospel
writer who describes the Holy Spirit in
this way what it means literally
translated is one who walks alongside
one who accompanies in the space where
they are it can also be translated as
comforter as it is in some other
translations this advocate is someone
who is actively not just present loving
us or having goodwill towards us this is
an advocate that is inside us that
through the Covenant of baptism has
become part of who we are so when
someone says to you you’re stronger than
you know that’s true not because we are
supposed to suck it up cupcake but
because we have Jesus truly inside us
with us refusing to leave us alone and
walking with us through times when we
feel absolutely alone that valley of the
shadow of death we heard about a few
weeks ago we’ve been hearing messages
repeatedly of having a comforter that’s
alongside us and with us but what if we
thought about that comforter as our
advocate as the person who’s not just
beside us who’s not just feeling our
pain along with us but who is our Good
Shepherd with the volume turned up
someone willing to fight for us someone
willing to carry us when we’re not able
to carry ourselves you are not alone and
in this gospel we don’t just hear the
reassurance that we’re not alone we also
hear a challenge that advocate that
lives in us commands us to carry out
God’s most important command that law
which we hear over and over again love
others as yourselves
Bishop Eden just sent a wonderful
pastoral letter that’s available on our
Facebook page and on the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America Facebook page
and website as well in which she
specifically addresses that kovat 19 is
not affecting all of us equally it is
affecting American Indian communities
latina communities and black communities
where people are dying from infection at
much higher rates it’s seen in the
growing anti
Asian racism it’s seen in the white
supremacist and horrifying anti-semitic
messages being carried in protest
marches on the steps of capital
buildings we are called to be Church
together and that doesn’t just mean our
friends or our immediate neighbors it
means everyone who God loves there is no
one who isn’t our neighbor so I offer
you a challenge this week as well as
words of comfort
who is God calling you
who is that truth-telling advocate
empowering you to walk alongside where
are you seeing need people that are not
experiencing the same set of resources
people that are struggling that are
feeling those effects of distance and a
lack of resource more strongly than
others and how might the Holy Spirit
give you the strength to be their
comforter to walk alongside them because
it’s not you that’s doing that work it
is that Jesus in you but Jesus in you
that’s the same Jesus that’s in them the
idea of our neighbor being separate from
ourselves is one that we are slowly
learning to let go of in this global
pandemic we’re realizing now more than
ever that borders and boundaries the
things that separate us
they’re only our imagination and perhaps
part of that is that sacred
truth-telling of the Holy Spirit the
advocate that is the Spirit of Truth we
know him because he abides with us and
in us so neighbor friend family member
who shares the same Christ in you that
lies within me and with all of our
friends and they
in this community country and world I am
with you this week you are with me and
God is with all of us and may we all
find ways to make sure that we are
looking out for the least of these but
we are finding ways to live into our
baptismal covenant to strive for justice
and peace in all the earth as the
advocate inspires us to do amen