The Compass - June 16th, 2019
I have a compass app on my mobile phone, but to be honest I don’t remember ever using it. Not that I don’t need to be sure which direction I ought to go, but I look for other ways than compasses. I think I got one once in a Christmas cracker. It’s probably stuck at the back of some drawer or another.
But it would be a mistake to underestimate how useful compasses have been. People used to navigate by the sun and the stars, but unless weather conditions have totally changed you can’t exactly guarantee you are ever going to see either on the day you want to. The compass made things a lot easier. It was a bit of a surprise for me to discover just how long compasses have been around. They were invented by the Chinese around 2000 years ago.
Around that sort of time Jesus found himself talking to his disciples about the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t long before he died, so that’s probably a sign he thought it was important stuff for them to get their heads around. Jesus had been teaching his disciples all kinds of things - like how to deal with Romans when they demand taxes or how to pray simply. But he didn’t touch on every situation his disciples would come across, nor for that matter things that we come across in a very different world 2000 years later.
Which is why the gift of the Spirit is so important. While the Chinese were inventing a simple compass Jesus was giving everyone something more important. Of course we don’t always know which direction to go. And even if we do know it’s not unusual to find ourselves on a different path. The Spirit is God’s presence in our lives pointing us to Jesus and how he handled things, showing us which direction to go, helping us to deal with things as Jesus might have done, encouraging us along paths we had not imagined before. As the Bible puts it: He will lead us ‘into all truth’. Not unlike a compass you might say. If, by any chance, you have left the Spirit in the back of a drawer this might be the moment to go look for it.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Lord, whatever lies in front of me today, help me live by the power of your Spirit. Point me in the right direction. Amen.