Dear CME Family:
My Greek-English lexicon says that the word parakletos means helper, intercessor, mediator, one who appears in another’s behalf; many of our works have translated the word as one called alongside to help. It is the word in this text that’s translated “Comforter”: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter ….”
As I meditated before writing, I considered heavily the dominant Pentecost text of Acts 2:1 (and verses following), “When the day of Pentecost was fully come ….”
I wanted today to hear a meditation being given to me (or through me) from Acts 2, but that’s not where it came from. The message came as I pondered John 14:16 – “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”
For a long time, especially when I first began to hear the definition of comforter as one called alongside to help, I read this passage from John 14:16 as specifically defining the Holy Spirit, one called alongside to help. Yet, as so many times of reading the same passage will do, one day the reading stopped me from going farther without seeing, in a new way, the word “another,” the word that comes before Comforter; “and he shall give you another …” as if Jesus were saying, “I have come to you as one Comforter; and the Holy Spirit will come to you and be, for you, another Comforter.”
For three years, Jesus is saying, I guided you, I interceded for you, I came along with you to help you; to open your yes; to help you see; to help you understand. And now, I am asking God – as I am about to be taken away from you – to give you another One … to intercede, to come alongside you, to help you … but, this time, to come beside you forever.
See it through another prism: perhaps you’ve been reading your Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke John); you’ve been singing your love for Jesus and His love for you; you find Jesus to be your Lord, your Master, your Savior, your Healer. Now, behold, see growing in your midst the One who is “another” even as Jesus has been – a helper, a healer, a comforter for you … except this One, this Holy Spirit “walks with you and is in you”; this One “shall testify of [Jesus]”; this One “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance ….”
You may not understand the authority and “muscle” of the promise until experiencing the need for “another” Comforter in your personal and private life: when the marriage bond has been broken and the lingering days and nights lonely and cold; when tragedy strikes just at the precipice of your most promising day; when the love of a caring Mother has been cut off by the pain of death; when “all around [your] soul” has given way, and your thin or veiled faith in God’s presence with you is “all your hope and stay.” These are the times when the word, “another,” takes on a sacred meaning of hope amidst our temptation to sinking into desolation or depression. A time comes to my remembrance as I write, recalling moments when the message of “another Comforter” became the only message I could give in my yearning to console and embrace two young children whose mother had been snatched away from them, even before their own eyes.
There are times in life when we all need this other Comforter, this Holy Spirit, in a powerful way, to make a present difference with His presence and power. My prayer for you is that you will know Him, and cherish His presence.
Come, Holy Ghost, in love,
Shed on us from above Thine own bright ray!
Divinely good Thou art; Thy sacred gifts impart
To gladden each sad heart: O come today!
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick