26 The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.
It’s striking how in today’s text, our writer offers us a descriptor of sorts for the Holy Spirit. “Companion”. This word has also been translated as: “advocate”, “counselor”, “helper”, amongst others. What insight does this give us to the Pentecost event and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today? Let’s talk Greek!
The Greek here is, “παράκλητος” or transliterated as, “paraklētos”. Because of this root word, many just refer to the Holy Spirit as “Paraclete”, which has those same meanings given in today’s text (“advocate”, “helper”, etc.) This is not to be confused with a parakeet which is a tiny, adorable bird, often green in color. Though, sometimes the Holy Spirit is depicted like a bird so if you want to imagine a little parakeet, go right ahead! This word in many forms is used throughout scripture, and the way it is used tells us more about what The Holy Spirit even is. We know God. We get Jesus. But what’s the Spirit?
This word is often used as an invited presence, almost like something that would be summoned for our aid. Think about it in terms of communion or baptism, where the pastor puts their hands over the elements or water – this is an invocation or invitation of the Spirit to join for many reasons: to inspire, to lead, to bless, to move through, to be active and present, to bring us as a community together. In other places in scripture, this word is used more in the advocate sense, almost like a lawyer. The Spirit is being invited in to intercede on our behalf for something. Remember, at the Pentecost event, the Holy Spirit came down upon followers of Christ who were used to having a walking, talking Jesus to spend their day with. Jesus was a broadening of their understanding of who God is, the Spirit is an even further expansion on that understanding. The Spirit is like this invisible breath that we invite into our lives to counsel us, to guide us, and to stand up for us when we are too weak to.
I’ve never had a pet parakeet, but if they can do that, I’d be super impressed.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
What comes to mind when you think of the Holy Spirit? Do any of these translated words resonate with you: companion, advocate, counselor, helper? Why or why not? Do you have a personal experience of The Holy Spirit being any of these things in your life?
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, Come! Shine down your rays of breath on each of our faces and be our most loving companion. Show us your ways of helping our neighbor so that we may do the same. Amen.