To who are you a Paraclete?
Yes, you may have read that wrong the first time. I did not ask you, "With who do you act like a parakeet?" Quite frankly, I do not care with whom you act like a parakeet, because I really I do not want to know. Rather, I asked, "To who are you a Paraclete?"
You see, “Paraclete” is the Greek name for the “Holy Spirit,” but it is a rich kind of name with deep meaning. It literally means something to the effect of “the one who walks along side.”
So, as Jesus continues to say his goodbyes to his disciples in the gospel of John, he promises that he will not be gone for long. He promises that he will send the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, the one who will continue to walk along side them, as they seek to live out their lives of Godly love.
So, if you fashion yourself a Disney princess, I invite you to imagine that you have a parakeet that whistles and sings alongside you wherever you go, but for the rest of us, I invite you to imagine that you have the Paraclete walking along with you, because you do.
The same Jesus Christ, who took on flesh and walked with his disciples, is still walking with you through the Paraclete. The same one, who went to the cross to show you just how far God will go to love you, to the point of death, is still with you. The same one who was raised from the dead, the same one who shows you that new beginnings are more powerful than any tragic ending, is the one who is still your friend.
Jesus is still with you through the Paraclete, walking alongside you every step of the way.
God’s love is still with you. You are loved, and because of that, you have love to give. All of this is possible because the Paraclete has not left you abandoned or orphaned. The Holy Spirit is with you. The Paraclete never leaves your side.
And, so, I ask you again, to who are you a Paraclete? Because we are a Paraclete people. We are a people who God has lovingly walked beside, and we are a people who God has tasked to lovingly walk beside others.
But, before we go too far in answering that question, I want you to first think of someone who has been your Paraclete. Who has walked beside you through thick and thin and not abandoned you? Who has guided you away from the cliff’s edge when you were not walking so straight? Who has been a Paraclete to you?
In other words, who has been a devoted friend, just as Jesus has been devoted to you?
Go ahead, hold this person in your mind. Keep them in mind for a moment while you continue to read.
The little girl had an unspeakable act done to her.
Yes, you are guessing right, that is what happened to her.
And, the day came when she was supposed to go to trial, this tender little girl, to face her abuser…to tell her story.
She feared the lights from the TV cameras on the way into the courthouse. She feared his awful face and his looming presence. She feared saying the right thing at the right time. She feared that the world was so great and she was so small.
And, then the motorcycles came. As she looked out the window of her home, an entire gang of motorcycle riders came, brandishing their loud vehicles, hard earned tattoos, tough leather jackets, and sculpted muscles. They had arrived to take her to court.
They had arrived to be the strength that she could not be.
They had arrived to provide the toughness that she could not find within herself.
They had arrived to be the literal, arm-in-arm chain of protection that would surround her when the cameras would try to get too close.
They had arrived to be a literal face of love, strength, and protection to who she could look in the courtroom when she became afraid.
They were a motorcycle group whose sole purpose was (and still is) to be a Paraclete to victims of abuse such as she.
They were there to walk beside her the entire time.
Years later, when as a teen, she fearfully found out that her abuser was being released from prison, she looked out the window that night fearing to see her abuser coming to retaliate.
But, when she looked out the window, she did not see her abuser. Instead, she saw members of her motorcycle gang sitting out at the end of the drive, protecting her from harm.
They were her Paraclete after-all, and they would not let her sit alone in fear.
That is what Paracletes do. They are gifts from the Holy Spirit who walks beside us, advocates for us, and gives us strength in the face of fear. Because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are made into a Paraclete people who walk with love beside others.
So, I ask you once again, to who are you a Paraclete. Who do you walk beside? Who do you love through the thick and the thin? Who do you help direct in right paths? To who are you devoted, all the way to death? Who knows that God’s love never ends because you have been there the entire time? To who are you a Paraclete?
Or, maybe I could ask, to who can you be a Paraclete?
Because, people need a Paraclete. The Paraclete is a gift from God. The Paraclete comes to us through the waters of baptism. The Paraclete come to us through acts of love. The Paraclete comes to us in times of peril. People need a Paraclete.
People need a gift who will be there when they struggle to love.
People need a gift who will be there when the truth of the situation is too much to bear.
People need a gift who will be there when they need to face the horrible truth of who they are.
People need someone who will love them anyway.
People need a gift who will be there when they feel forgotten.
People need a gift who will be there in the face of death.
People need the gift of the Paraclete, an advocate, a gift from God by the Holy Spirit that allow people to be certain that God has not forgotten.
And, God provides the Paraclete each time. So, I ask one last time, to who is God sending you to be a Paraclete?