The church talks, on occasion, about the “Spirit”. Jesus called it the “Holy Spirit”. The thing is, we can use the word “spirit” in our culture, and in our lives, in so many different ways. What does “Spirit” mean for Jesus?
One simple word: Helper. The Spirit will help us when we need help.
Two illustrations. What with the Leafs stealing our hearts in the NHL playoffs, the first is from the wide world of hockey.
When I was in high school, I played some hockey. I was a bit bigger in high school than I am now, but I wasn’t huge. I played triple A in grade 9 and loved it. I was a clean player. Generally speaking. But in one game there was this guy. Big and a whole lot of mean. We called him Goliath. He was one of those 14 years olds who had a beard. You remember those guys. Early bloomers.
I remember one game where Goliath was goading me and I just lost it. I clocked him with everything I had. Boom, right on the forehead. You know, it’s funny how normally mild-mannered people can so easily become maniacal mercenaries on the playing field. True dat.
Now, as you know, when David hit Goliath in the Bible story, with a stone from his sling, Goliath fell hard. When I hit Goliath in that hockey game, a totally different result. He didn’t go down. He didn’t even flinch. He looked at me like “You've got to be kidding me?”
I knew I was in trouble then. Fortunately for me, the linesmen got between us, and the fight was never fully realized. But sitting in the penalty box, he leans over and gives me the back and forth index finger across the throat. “You and me, after the game bro”. Just fantastic. Now I have to worry about Chewbaca waiting for me outside of the locker room after the game.
Back in the locker room, my teammates are like “Man, I can’t believe you took a swing at that guy”. Through a cotton mouth I said, “Man, I am so dead.” What was I thinking? As sure as Semenko he’s waiting for me outside.
Then, one of my teammates says “Hey, Gibby, (that was my hockey name) I’ll walk out with you.” And then, a second. And then a third "Me as well." And then a fourth. “Hey Gibby, we’re a team. You won’t be walking alone.”
My courage flooded back, and I walked outta there knowing that I had a whole lotta help beyond my own.
Whatever it is we have to battle our way through, be it sickness or fear of failure or loneliness or poverty, whatever Goliaths are in front of us today, the Spirit walks with us to give us what need to get through. You’re not walking alone.
He is the one who comes up alongside. He came up beside Jesus and helped him. He’ll come up beside us. There is nothing that can separate us from that presence, from the protecting help of God’s Spirit shown through Jesus.
Oh, by the way, Goliath wasn’t waiting outside after all. He was inhaling a couple of footlongs with his Dad at the concession. Nothing to fear but fear itself.
Second illustration. I watched that Clint Eastwood movie Million Dollar Baby again. Good movie, won some Oscars. Clint Eastwood is an old boxing trainer, and there is a young woman played by Hillary Swank who wants to box, and she wants him to train her.
He keeps refusing. She doesn’t give up. Train me, be in my corner. Finally he says “So, you want me to train you?” “Yes, yes!”.
“You want to work with me”? “You want me to be in your corner?” She’s ecstatic. ‘Yes, yes."
“OK, then listen up. You have to understand what you are committing to if you want me in your corner. Are you serious about this? “Yes!”. Are you willing to give everything you’ve got? When you are in the ring, you do as I say, you listen to my voice. I will own you. “Yes, yes!”
She was ecstatic. Because, she knew he was the best. She knew he would transform her into a champion. And so, she was willing to go to work. Yes, yes!
We pray, “Spirit, be with us” every time we do worship here. “Be in our corner as we live, so that we can live rightly”.
Please know that God will be in your corner if you ask him to. What an incredible thing it is to believe that God is with us in that way. The great Helper. The voice that will never guide us astray.
But the question remains. “Are you serious about this?” "Will you listen to my voice, and trust in it?” “What are you willing to give? All of yourself? Are you willing to enter into that battle?”
I hope we say “Yes” Because, it’s what we need. It’s also happens to be everything we’ve ever wanted.