Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Comforter

My recent reading of the Gospel of John included these (sometimes) enigmatic words about the Comforter:

John 14

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15

26 when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

John 16

7 It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

So, how will we recognize the Comforter?

  • The Comforter is the Spirit of Truth.
  • The world (material existence) can't see the Comforter, but "ye" can—those who can perceive Christ—because the Comforter dwells within them.
  • When the Comforter comes, you will know for sure your own oneness with God and Christ.
  • The Comforter will teach us the things Jesus couldn't, and will explain Jesus' words fully.
  • The Comforter will bear witness to Christ, and will enable us to do so.
  • The Comforter won't talk about "himself," since "he's" not a person, but the Spirit of Truth. The Comforter will glorify Christ, and show us Christ.
  • The Comforter is then teacher, witness, friend, illuminator, advocate, Truth.

To me, it's always made sense that the Comforter is not a being as much as an idea. The Comforter is the underlying reality of all things, what we need to know to have dominion and to witness (express) God. It speaks and we listen because it speaks the Truth. It's not itself something to worship, because it points to that which we must worship, the Holiest, the Divine. It clears the way, it shows the path, it lights the journey. The Comforter is our beacon and our guide. The Comforter shall "teach [us] all things."

When I look at it that way, I understand what Mary Baker Eddy meant when she wrote:

Truth's immortal idea is sweeping down the centuries, gathering beneath its wings the sick and sinning. My weary hope tries to realize that happy day, when man shall recognize the Science of Christ and love his neighbor as himself, — when he shall realize God's omnipotence and the healing power of the divine Love in what it has done and is doing for mankind. The promises will be fulfilled. The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time; and whosoever layeth his earthly all on the altar of divine Science, drinketh of Christ's cup now, and is endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing.

In the words of St. John: "He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." This Comforter I understand to be Divine Science.

--Science and Health

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