Paul really knew how to handle those wise aristocrats of Athens. The Platonist, epicurean, and stoic amateur philosophers would use the Areopagus as a meeting place to muse about eternity and their place in it. (Sort of like our use of Starbucks.) Paul knew he would get nowhere quoting the Hebrew Torah to explain the Good News of Jesus Christ. He needed to talk in their own terms, in their context, in order to lead them to the true God, and the news of Jesus.

So Paul pointed to the statues and altars of Athens, explaining that mortals do not have to create a god out of metal or stone, or manufacture a home for this deity. The One God already has a home – in us. This core truth is at the heart of our faith as Christians. We DO NOT believe that there was an awesomely powerful god who once created everything and stepped back to watch. The True God has a home in us, through the spirit of Jesus Christ living in us.

Throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus was the Paraclete for the disciples. That Greek word, translated here as ‘Comforter’ is only found in the Gospel of John. The literal translation of the word ‘paraclete’ is: one who is called alongside. It combines the qualities of comforter, encourager, advocate, teacher, and counselor. As we read the New Testament, we can see that those qualities certainly apply to Jesus. In our Gospel reading, Jesus says that even though he is leaving to be with the Father, he will not leave us alone. He says the Father will send another Paraclete, to be with us forever.

What an exciting, empowering, mystery it is for us to have a God whose gift to us is to immerse us in comfort, encouragement, advocacy, teaching, and wise counsel. And he is with us every minute of every day. He aches to be in our thoughts every waking moment, helping us live an abundant life, a life filled with that kind of centering power.

Let me share with you a poem titled ‘Come, Creating Spirit’, written around 800 AD. Before I read it, I need to explain a few references;

  1. The Spirit is described as the sevenfold gift. Roman and Greek philosophers wrote about four Cardinal Virtues: wisdom, self-control, courage, and justice. Christian theologians added faith, hope and love, making seven virtues.
  2. There is reference to the ‘right finger of the Father’. Consider in that phrase, the image of Michelango’s painting of creation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts God’s hand reaching out to the first human being, while Adam, with a shocking lack of interest, points a finger toward God. But the fingers do not touch; there is the smallest gap. The words in this poem suggest that the HS fills that gap between God and humankind.


Come, Creating Spirit

Come, Creating Spirit,

Visit the minds of those who are yours,

Fill with the highest grace

The hearts of those whom you have created.

You are called Comforter and Protector1 (Paraclete)

You are God’s greatest gift,

The power of life, fire, mercy,

And ointment for the soul.

You are the sevenfold gift2

The right finger of the Father,

The fulfillment of the Father’s promise3

The preaching tongue.

Kindle a light in the senses,

Fill the heart with love,

Strengthen our weak bodies

With the power of patience.

Defend from the enemy,

Give peace with ourselves,

Lead us wisely,

Protect against all evil.

All knowing comes from you.

Give, that we learn to know the Father,

and the Son,

And you as well, Spirit,

That we may believe eternally.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son -­­

Who rose from the dead,

And to you, Comforter and Protector4

In eternity eternally.


—Attributed to Hrabanus Maurus (766–856)


1The Latin text uses the Greek word Parakletos (comforter, advocate, protector).

2Greek and Roman philosophers spoke about four Cardinal Virtues:

prudentia (prudence, wisdom), temperantia (self-control), fortitude (strength, courage), and iustitia (justice). The Christian theologians of the early Middle Ages added fides (faith), caritas (love), and spes (hope).

3Literally: “The mode of the Father’s promise.” This refers to the Gospel of St. John, where Jesus says (14:16): “I will ask the Father, and he will send you another parakletos [comforter, advocate, protector], who will be with you in eternity: the Spirit of the Truth.”

4The Latin text uses the Greek word Parakletos (comforter, advocate, protector).


Some think of worship as a social obligation; I don’t.
Some think of worship as a waste of time; I don’t.
Some struggle to see where God is while enduring isolation, unemployment, shortage of supplies, earth-shaking changes in our daily schedules, with no end in sight. But this is when God holds us tighter.

Jesus promised his disciples, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you”.
I trust in the 4,000 years of our faith tradition – that by depending on God;
the load was easier,
the days were better,
the outlook held a divine hope,
and the trust in God to be there was strong.
I personally rely on this invisible but sacred link with our creator.

Instead of letting the chaos of Covid-time pull us down or apart, let’s make this a time to protect our personal time with God – who will not leave us orphaned.
Let’s make this a time to study Scripture with a nice Study Bible,
Let’s learn all we can about the nature of our God,
Let’s say more prayers,
Let’s tell more people we love them,
Let’s show more people that we care about them,
Let’s depend more on our paraclete, Jesus Christ,
and let’s keep alert for the works of his Spirit who ‘will be with us forever.’