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Viewpoint from Rev James Stewart 23/05/2014 

JAMES STEWARD in NYThe Revd James Stewart
Curate – Great Yarmouth Team Ministry

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury

When people find themselves in difficulty it is often said that, ‘You had better get yourself a good lawyer!’ We hope that a good lawyer will speak up on our behalf, interpret the less understandable language of our legal system and advise us as to what will be the best thing to do, next. Often, even if we are not in the middle of a legal minefield, it might be helpful for us to have someone who will come alongside us, explain things and put our minds at rest

dove leftIn the church calendar we find ourselves now coming towards the end of the season of Easter, when the church now turns its thoughts to Christ’s Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And so we are reminded in our bible readings at this time of Jesus’ words of comfort to his disciples at their last meal together. Since some tell us that the whole of John’s Gospel can be read as a lawsuit or a courtroom drama it is not particularly surprising that Jesus promises to send his companions an Advocate

The word used in the Bible is a secular court term which indicates both a defence lawyer and a comforter in suffering. So Jesus is sending not just a lawyer, but a pretty good one - one who cares and one whose caseload is not so overwhelming that there is time to make that caring real

Dove rightGod remains present with us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will teach us how to love one another, and how to stay connected within community. The Holy Spirit dwells within us to answer those questions which we might otherwise be unable to answer. Jesus’ words of comfort to his disciples have just as much relevance for us now. In every generation we are faced with new questions and perplexities. Does the sun revolve around the earth or is it the other way around? Should nuclear weapons ever be used against an enemy? Should women who feel called by God be ordained to preach? The Holy Spirit interprets for us, advocates for us and helps us to discern what God is calling us to do

So – do we need a good lawyer? God's Spirit will guide and lead us. The Spirit, the breath of God, is at work, here and now – inspiring us in many ways: a Spirit which can bring us courage, a reserve of strength and a passion of faith we did not even know we had. Perhaps this is all we need