Sermon – Pentecost, May 15, 2015 – The Rev Keith Owen

PARAKLEET
Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016
Text: John 14: 8-17, 25-27

LISTEN:

Today’s sermon was preached from notes. There is no full text.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with your forever…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything .

In that little snippet of today’s Gospel we encounter one of the most evocative, elusive words in all of Holy Scripture. Paraclete.

(From “Mantus” Online Bible Study App, the NetBible Premium Translation” Note on translation of Paracleta in John 14:15)
Finding an English translation for paraklatos is a very difficult task. No single English word has exactly the same range of meaning as the Greek word. “Comforter” used by some older English versions, is older than the King James Version. But today, it suggests a quilt or a sympathetic mourner at a funeral. “Counselor” is adequate, but too broad, suggesting contexts like “marriage counselor” or “camp counselor.” “Helper” or “assistant” could also be used, but could suggest a subordinate rank. “Advocate,” the word chosen in our translation this morning, has more legal and political overtones in our language than the Greek does. But, because an “advocate” is someone who “advocates” or supports a position or viewpoint, and since this is what the Paraclete will do for the preaching of the disciples, that is the translation that was selected despite its drawbacks.

Essential root meaning: para + kalew. The preposition “beside” and “kalew” which means call, or summon. Root meaning: the one called beside.

Today = Pentecost. The celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the one called to our side.

Shows up in ancient Greek in all kinds of ways: Walter Bauer devotes two full pages of his magisterial lexicon of New Testament. Listen to some of the shades of meaning:

Summon. Invite. Call for help. Appeal to. Urge. Exhort. Encourage. Request. Implore. Comfort. Cheer up. Speak to in a friendly manner.
It’s a rich and textured word, and when John uses it to speak of the Holy Spirit, it is likely he means all of these things, and probably more.

Three shades of meaning populate today’s scriptures:

Gospel – advocate – lawyer

Epistle – abba – daddy

Psalm – wisdom – mentors, teachers

Acts – translator –

Who in your life do you call to your side? When you are afraid, who do you call? When you want to celebrate, who do you call? When you need advice, who do you call? Ponder for a moment all the people in your life that you call to your side. These are your parakletes. Is it too much to assert that we are, in many respects, the products of those whom we call to our side?

Pentecost – Jesus promise that the fullness of God will stand alongside us. God’s spirit stands alongside us, each of us, and all of us gathered as church, to do all those things a “paraclete” does.

In baptism: you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and marked as christ’s one forever.
– Holy Spirit always alongside us (Alex)
– We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.

Holy Spirit is our eternal companion. God, come alongside us. God, giving us all to each other as parakletes.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with your forever…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything .

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