Easter V – 6.5.18
Over the Easter season we read in John’s Gospel about the comforter, the new creator and the forgiver of sins. We have perhaps a fuller understanding of the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel than in all else of the holy Scriptures. And it isn’t a cold “doctrine” we have from John of a theology of a Person of the Holy Trinity – but of the Holy Spirit with us, just as Jesus is with us – and more so.
As John makes clear – where Jesus is, there too is the Holy Spirit. And again from John’s Gospel, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in this world from the beginning. “He”, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He, for the Three are One. If we need support to this in our thinking, P.D. Ouspensky in his book of about 30 years ago, “A New Model of the Universe”, has these two sentences, “St. John’s Gospel cannot be understood by the mind at all. One feels in it an emotional excitement on the level of ecstasy”. So, more of the heart than of the mind.
Where our mind comes in is that we remind ourselves that the bible speaks very much to the heart. With a good measure of silence, if we read Chapter 17 of John’s Gospel – if we read it with attention and devotion – we become a new person. And we discover this in each other, while it is not to be found in those who know nothing of worship – and who know nothing of prayer. Of John’s Gospel Monsieur Ouspensky has a ring of truth when he says that we know an emotional excitement perhaps comparable to Israel being lead by Moses when he says to his people at the edge of the Red Sea,“Stand still and see the salvation which he will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today you will see them again no more for ever”.
A fitting sentence to our thought on John and his Gospel. For the Jews throughout their history have known a unity with themselves and with their God. And so with John too – although he doesn’t use the word ecclesia, or church, he speaks of the disciples as a unity with each other – and a one-ness with their Lord.
One last sentence. John shapes his Gospel in the way he does because he is aware of the action of the Holy Spirit and that we too shall be aware of this new life.
(c) Br George