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Traveling with God: Week of May 26, 2019

Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe."


Traveling with God Week of: May 26, 2019

I want to focus here on one little phrase Jesus says about the Holy Spirit - that it will teach you everything. Can you see how momentous that is? What Jesus is saying here is that he has not already taught us everything. He has only been in ministry with the disciples for three years, so it stands to reason that he can’t possibly have taught them everything already. (Especially with how dense we know the disciples to be sometimes.) Jesus is assuring them that their time of learning is not over.


If we encountered a high school graduate this weekend, who walked around with their cap and gown on saying, “I did it! I’ve learned everything and look I have this diploma to prove it!” we would all laugh at them right? Or perhaps have some pity on them for we know how much they don’t yet know. Just because the big change has happened from high school student to high school graduate doesn’t mean they are done learning.


But really the same is true for all of us. Hopefully there is never a moment in our lives when we feel like we have learned it all. One of my previous appointments was to Friendship Haven, a retirement community in Fort Dodge. There, all of my ministry was with people many decades older than me, most of whom had been attending worship, teaching Sunday School, leading the church in various ways for more than twice as long as I have been alive. It would have been so easy for them to look at me and think “what could you possibly have to teach me? I’ve been around the block more times than you can count, I already know this stuff.”


But I was always humbled by their willingness to learn from me, to learn with me really as we explored the ancient stories of the Bible over and over again. One of my favorite moments in my time there, was when a woman almost one hundred years old said to me, “You know, I’ve been going to church my whole life, since before I can remember, yet every week now, I learn something new about the Bible, about Jesus, about God.”


She embodied this spirit of the Spirit - the idea that the Holy Spirit will continue to teach us, will continue to remind us of what Jesus said and lead us into new ways of living the truth of Jesus Christ in this world. Hopefully, we are never done learning. Hopefully, we are never done growing. In an ideal world we will always have our hearts, our minds, and our doors open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the lives of those around us.


I encourage you to remain a student your entire life - a student of Jesus Christ, informed by scripture, led by the movement of the Holy Spirit, and living out the teachings of Jesus to the best of your ability. You might never get your diploma, your picture perfect cap and gown moment, but you will experience the joy of learning, and moving one step at a time closer to the perfection of Christ. We won’t ever get there, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.



Teaching God, thank you for giving us Christ as our example, and the Spirit as our continuous teacher. Bless us with the humility we need to admit that we don't know everything, that might never know everything. May we learn, may we live, may we love as Jesus Christ taught us to. Amen.