June 2022

'The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things' John 14.26 (RSV)

This month sees the church celebrating the two great festivals of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we might learn to live in relationship with the Divine, itself the epitome of a loving union displayed between the three persons of the one God.


If we want to go further in to the whole question of our relationship with God, and our place within the Divine relationship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we have surely to start with the writings of John. This chapter consists almost entirely of Jesus’ words to his disciples after the last supper. He has described himself (ch 13.13,14) as ‘Lord and Teacher’ and at the heart of Jesus’s teaching, emphasised throughout John’s Gospel, is love – the triangle of love between Father and Son and those who love Him.


Did the disciples find it all as hard to comprehend as it would appear? The fact that Jesus returned so often to this same theme suggests both that it was of crucial importance, and that the Disciples were struggling to understand all that he was saying. They were completely new ideas for these ordinary Jewish men – and no doubt the women too, as they would have been around and listening – who would have had a very different idea of God.


What he tells us to do is to love – to love one another and to love him. This is his command. Simples, as the meerkats say. This circle is repeated five times during the course of these two chapters 14 and 15: “love me … keep my commandments … remain in my love”. It is a sort of Möbius strip – you go round it and discover you are seamlessly on the other side.  And the idea of one thing leading to another is repeated again and again elsewhere: Jesus prayed to his Father “thou in me, I in thee, they in us – perfectly one”.


So we gratefully accept this gift of God’s love – we recognise and rejoice in its boundless generosity and profusion. And the centripetal force that keeps us in this circle of love is the Spirit, the Comforter and Counsellor, the gift which we celebrate, at Pentecost, at Trinity Sunday, and always.