A month ago, the man I regarded as my mentor died after a brief illness. He had given me an internship my last year of graduate school, which led to full-time work in ministry after I graduated and set me on my vocational path. For eight years we were colleagues with offices next to each other, and he provided guidance as I came into my own. After a new position took me to another city and state, we did not talk frequently; but I knew that I could always turn to him when I needed direction or advice. He would adeptly ask the right questions in order to pay attention to God’s leading for me. Even after I moved, knowing he was just a phone call away gave me a sense of assurance. His death has left a huge hole for me and I am sure for others as well.
Jesus is preparing the disciples for the time when he is not physically present with them. He tells them that the Holy Spirit “will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” If their spirits are troubled and they feel afraid, he reminds them of the legacy of peace that he has left with them.
These words echo from the years of the early church with disciples unsure how to navigate without Jesus’ leadership through the generations, as each experiences the loss of the previous generation. These words comfort me as I still work through the loss of a mentor and listen for the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to guide me. Even when those who mentor us in faith are gone, the Holy Spirit works to transform us into the people God calls us to be and helps us know how to guide the next generation.
Holy Spirit, when we feel troubled, alone, or afraid, give us your peace. Lead us in Christ’s way. Amen.