First Lutheran Church and School

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The Word This Weekend – May 21, 2017

The Word This Weekend – May 21, 2017

“Lawyering Up”

The Rev. Dr. William L. Hurst

FLCS Senior Pastor


“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.” (John 14:25-26) 

Easter continues. This “week of weeks,” originally called Pascha, in recognition of the seven week Passover Season inherited from and shared with Judaism, offers the Jesus Community the chance to revisit the words of Christ in advance of his passion, and to consider them anew in light of his resurrection.


This week finds us with the Teacher and his students, as they walk from an upper room meal in Jerusalem to the darkened grove of olive trees called Gethsemane. As the sense of foreboding and darkness gathers around the band of Galileans and their companions, Jesus speaks of his imminent sufferings, and of the eternal hope they will bring to those who embrace his reign and his name. Then come these words:


“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.

The Advocate. In Greek this word is Parakletos, which in Classical usage can mean Advocate, or Advisor, or Defender. In our modern English usage, the word Advocate is sometimes used (especially in British usage) as a synonym for lawyer or attorney. And an appropriate translation it is, especially the way that Christ uses it here.


Think about it for a moment. What else is a lawyer anyway, than an advisor on the law, an advocate with litigation and defense, and a voice on behalf of the client. We rely on our advocates, our attorneys, to represent us before the outside world -- especially when we find ourselves locked in the crisis times of opposition or attack. Our lawyers also advise us on the boundaries and particulars of the legal codes under which we live, so that we can avoid error or exposure, and conduct ourselves safely and within the constraints of law and society. Finally, our legal advocates help us give voice to our position, while maintaining the confidentiality of attorney-client privilege. Their wise counsel is there to give us advice, protection, advocacy and defense, often at times that we most dearly need those counselor assistance.

And that’s the Parakletos Jesus promises, a gift from our Creator and his Abba. A guide for our steps as disciples, and a defender in times of opposition and duress. An advisor when our course needs correction, when the boundaries grow squishy, and the way grows unsure. A representative in the trials of life, and a strong advocate for those times when our own hearts accuse us, or when we face persecution, rejection, attack or assault.


So, for Jesus our Teacher and Lord, to follow him as an Easter people is to lean on the Spirit. Our best course in heeding his promise and clinging to his mission is to welcome the Parakletos into our walk and our witness, to “lawyer up” by inviting the life-giving Spirit to convey God’s saving Gospel to us, and to give us language and verve enough to make that Gospel available and effective toward others.


Dear Companions, this weekend and every weekend we of the Jesus Community are granted the gift of the Parakletos, to once again “lawyer up” in the way of the Savior. In the water, word and table, we meet a new way of living, a new vocabulary for hearing and speaking the good news of liberty and transformation for ourselves and for those among whom we are called to love and testify. See you at worship this weekend, that the Holy Spirit, the divine and faithful Lawyer may plant the Gospel deep in our hearts and our lives, in Christ’s name and in his service.  


With you in God's Good Work, 

Bill Hurst