11 “When they bring you before the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what you should say. 12 The Holy Spirit will tell you at that very moment what you must say.”
I cannot think of more poignant verses for today. In a time when a virus threatens us and there is incredible social discord, we may wonder how we will ever be able to function, let alone to speak out in a world with such unrest. Like so many, you may find yourself gripped and/or paralyzed by fear. How and when do we speak up? How does the Holy Spirit come to our aid when we do?
Fortunately, Jesus’ words point the way for speaking truth to power. Here, through the Gospel of Luke, Jesus spoke directly to his disciples, before his death and resurrection, about what they would have to do. Naturally the disciples were worried. Jesus’ message told them, and all of us, not to be afraid, for the “Holy Spirit will teach you.” This time, Jesus gave no parables or stories, but just simply said: You will need to speak up but don’t be afraid. I think Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit will help you transform God’s messages within you, giving you words and actions that resonate. I have seen it happen. When the Holy Spirit encourages you to speak up, you will have trouble resisting! What I have witnessed is that sometimes it is a message that comes on the spur of the moment, and often even if you did not plan to speak. It is often a message that binds by creating community–a moment that will include people of different ages, stages and races, backgrounds and even faiths. The message becomes timeless and future leaning, as the Holy Spirit guides our hearts and pathways toward one another. The Holy Spirit touches our hearts through building community. It may be a powerful and transformative moment and fear will fall away. So I encourage you, ask for the Holy Spirit to give you words to speak plainly. Talk down your fear and live in the moment, trusting in the Spirit’s guidance for your words.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
How is the Holy Spirit guiding you to speak up? What do you need to talk plainly about?
Prayer: An Invitation to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, My Great Advocate, you know my thoughts and feelings. You know about the times when I have been careless with my words. For these times, I ask for your forgiveness. I invite you, Spirit, to enlighten me. Grant me the patience to hear the needs of those around me. Holy Spirit, you also know my heart and my longing to speak with love and authority about…(your needs). Create in me ears to hear what you would have me hear. Help me to find strength in your presence. Sow within me the longing to speak plainly in Jesus’ name. Amen.