If you have ever been to a courthouse for a trial then you know the setting for St. John’s gospel. John suggests that not only Jesus, but the entire church is on trial, and that both Jesus and the church have an Advocate, a spokesperson who will testify on their behalf. This Advocate is the Holy Spirit. In the ancient world, if you were accused of a crime, it was important to haven an important figure in town speak on your behalf, someone to insist that you were more than your faults. The Holy Spirit is the one John designates as our spokesperson.
Not infrequently, when our spirits are low, we forget all those who care about and love us. Overwhelmed by our own guilt or weakness, we slip into a kind of darkness that blankets every thing we do and are. Though we know that life is not all darkness, we have periods of time when it seems that way, usually because of the accumulation of burdens.
A sick mother, a child acting out, a husband who can’t find work, a mortgage payment due without sufficient funds, a small business that is struggling, a car that seems always to need expensive repairs are all events we have experienced. As long as we are carrying only one or two, we can usually find light in our darkness, but when they start to pile up we can feel overwhelmed and wonder where God is.
Today, scripture reminds us that no matter how heavy our burdens, there is someone, the Holy Spirit, who is prepared to speak on our behalf and whose job it is to hold up before others who might be judging us that we are people of good character and commitment to God. The Holy Spirit will enumerate all our good deeds and insist that others see us as faith filled and honest. How wonderful to have such an Advocate.
Today, remember that God is on your side.
Who has been your best defender and spokesperson?