This devotion is the about the Paraclete, the third “P” that was shared with my wife and I by one of our best friends at our 27th Anniversary renewal of our wedding vows ceremony.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever….
John 14:16 (ESV)
Paraclete or Pair of Cleats?
When I say the word “paraclete” out loud, it almost sounds like “pair of cleats.”
I’m well acquainted with cleats!
When I was a junior in college, I had a part-time job as the equipment manager of the football team. It was my job to get the football team equipped. In August. In an un-air conditioned, walk-in freezer in the basement of the campus.
For two weeks I made sure the players had helmets that fit. I made sure they had the face guard they desired (who knew there were so many different kinds!). And I was in charge of getting them football cleats that fit correctly.
After the last pre-season game, I was through as I had very little time once classes started. But I learned a lot about football cleats and the other equipment!
That year, I also played my last season of “Fall Baseball.” But I went “all in” for it and even bought myself a pair of baseball cleats – the metal kind like the pros wear!
Did you know that you shouldn’t walk on tile floors in metal cleats? I didn’t. And that first – and only – time I slid around and eventually fell on my coccyx like I was walking on ice!
Cleats and the Paraclete
Cleats are special shoes that help the wearer get good traction when running on dirt or grass.
I see this as a parallel of one of the blessings of the Paraclete. The Paraclete is the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Holy Trinity).
In general terms, the word “paraclete” means an advocate, assistant, or intercessor. That is also what the Holy Spirit does for us!
The Holy Spirit gives us traction in a slippery world. He grounds us in God’s Holy Word – the foundational bedrock of our faith.
But the Holy Spirit also is someone who speaks on our behalf.
On Our Behalf
St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans puts it this way:
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
Our weakness is our predicament (which was the subject of a previous devotion, which you can read here). This predicament is because of our sin.
We are sinners and would be lost forever in our sin unless someone saves us.
Which is exactly what God promised us in the sending of his son, Jesus Christ (also the subject of a previous devotion, which you can read here).
And Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit to be our paraclete, our helper and counselor, as Jesus says,
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
The Holy Spirit is ours today, always being with us and guiding us.
He is comforting us and he gives us traction in this world!
Heavenly Father, as you once taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending them the Holy Spirit, give us in our day the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy consolation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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