I read a story once about a resident of Frankfurt, Germany who lost his car in 1997. The man, who was about 50 years old, parked his car outside of a very large factory before a meeting and when he came out of the factory, he couldn’t find it. He could remember that he had parked it in a very peculiar spot in the parking lot, but couldn’t find it. So he reported it stolen. When there was no news from the police, the man assumed that the car was lost forever and he simply stopped looking. As time went on, the memory of his beloved car faded.
Today we start a whole new season of the church year called Pentecost. Pentecost is by far the longest season of the church year and it is largely to celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit. In our lesson from Acts the Holy Spirit is poured out on the people and Peter rises to preach the first Christian sermon. Peter works through from the beginning to trace the whole fullness of the Old Testament and connect God’s promises to Jesus. He is speaking to a large group of Jewish people some converts, but all of whom would have connected these dots, remembered the news of Jesus and faith was planted. So on this day that we remember today, the Holy Spirit empowers Peter to help everyone remember Jesus.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “Parakletos.” The clunky English translation of this word is “one who is called to stand by one’s side.” The word is sometimes translated in different ways such as helper, advocate, comforter, counselor. Now if you think about these roles in terms of humanity, they are really the characteristics of a best friend or a close family member. We hold on to relationships where the person lives out their relationship with us as a helper, advocate, comforter, counselor, etc.
Now some of these roles that are given to the Holy Spirit are not what we might first expect. AS a helper, or counselor, sometimes his role is to remind you when you have sinned. So that conscience that creeps up after you run the red light...again, or lose your cool with the neighbor...again, let mom down...again. That’s that Holy Spirit helping you to see your need for the Savior. Exactly how a close friend or family member sometimes has to tell us that we are doing the wrong thing, or headed in the wrong direction. The Holy Spirit stands by our side and is the closeness of our relationship with God through thick and thin.
You know, the early church coined a term for people who forgot God. That term was amnesia. In Many ways it’s easy for us to forget. It’s easy to head for the store and forget why we went. Jesus says in our Gospel lesson about the Holy Spirit that he will “Bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you…” Quite often we go down a bad path in life and forget our way, we forget what God would have us do. Quite often we forget lots of things just like the man who lost his car and gave up. In the 16th century the chaplain to Queen Elizabeth created a position at the Queen’s court called the Lord’s Remembrancer. Jesus says in our Gospel lesson that the Holy Spirit’s job is to help every single one of us remember him and everything that he did and everything that he said. The Holy Spirit helps us remember every single time you your faith hears those words your sins are forgiven, and this is my body and this is my blood, and the Lord bless and keep you. The Holy Spirit helps you to remember every time a Christian friend offers you an encouraging word. Jesus is telling you today that this day, this season is about the Holy Spirit remembering Jesus for you. He brings Jesus to you. That is everything.
So our friend in Germany who lost his car and forgot it, remember him? Twenty Years went by since the man gave up and forgot. The man is now 70 years old. The factory where he parked was now being demolished, but there’s a problem. One old car in the parking lot has not moved and is in the way. The police notify the man, who remembered all at once just where he had parked. The man was by the way, also very disappointed that his beloved car would not start when he went to retrieve it.
So let’s get back to today is his day, and this begins his season, so who is he? He starts and ends as God within us and around us, and when he helps us to remember, there is no misfire, no not starting, there is only fire and passion as God’s relationship with you and promises to you find completeness in the faith he embodies. He is the peace we feel when we finish a prayer and find peace. He is the light that breaks the darkest of places in our lives. This season? It’s about our job to carry that peace and the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His job? All of this and so much more amounts to the sum total of his job being helping you to remember Jesus and the words to carry the Gospel anywhere and everywhere. Then after all this, he does something only God can do. He helps you remember tomorrow and does it all over again. Amen.