Friday of Pentecost – John 15:26-16:15 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

 “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

I tried to get out conducting this funeral. The daughter called me. Her mom had died. She had been born north of the artic circle in Norway and hence had been baptized in a Lutheran church. The family thought it was right for her to be buried by a Lutheran minister. She never attended in their recollection. The kids were Christians, but members of large non-denominational churches in the LA area. The widower never attended either. I tried to shuck it off on the ELCA parish because she was Scandinavian. They persisted and I did the funeral. One of the best decisions I was ever forced into making.

The next Sunday the widower showed up. And the next Sunday too. I spoke with him. He had been touched by the words I had spoken at the funeral about baptism and God’s grace. He wanted to be baptized. He could not attend a class. His business required a great deal of travel. But he liked to read. I put together a small pile of things for him. The stack was too short, I thought. I put a Book of Concord on the bottom. That looked better.

Three weeks later I saw him again. I asked whether he had read any of the materials I had given him. “Yes,” he said. “That Apology to the Augsburg Confession is really good.” If you are not familiar with it, the Apology is a lengthy work defending the Augsburg Confession. It is very deep, very complicated, and indeed, “really good.” It is not, however, exactly typical airport reading. As the conversation progressed, it was clear that he was not kidding. He had read it, understood it, and was ready to say, “Yes!” He was baptized not long afterwards. He had built a multinational company from scratch. We were starting a preschool and needed a business plan. I think God had that in mind when led Ralph into our midst. I think it was one of the best non-profit business plans ever written.

I have often wished that I could have been there to see Jesus open the eyes of the blind or feed the multitudes. But then I think the things that I have seen and realize that Jesus is still doing those same things. Jesus says in this reading that it is better that he leaves. That way the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will come. We will understand more and we will see even greater deeds of Jesus.

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