Foundry United Methodist Church

Rev. Dean Snyder, Senior Minister




Spirit of Truth

Sunday, June 4, 2006



John 15: 26-27; 16: 4b-15


Rev. Dean Snyder


I would like to mention that next Sunday is Peace with Justice Sunday.Rev. Peter DeGroote will be speaking on that Sunday.Jane and I will be out of the country on a vacation in Rome over the next week. You will be in our thoughts and prayers as you gather to celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday.


It is the one Sunday within the Methodist calendar when there is a focus on advocacy and social change. We have many Sundays when we focus on ministries of mercy and service.But this is the one Sunday when United Methodists nationally recognize the importance of not only helping people in trouble but also changing the circumstances in our world that cause people to be in trouble in the first place.So I encourage both your support of that service and of the special offering which will be received next Sunday.


Today is the Holy Spiritís day and the few words I have to say this morning following confirmation and before communion are really for the confirmands.These words are for you and they are words about truth.


In the gospel lesson that Matt read for us, he quotes Jesus as saying: ďWhen the Spirit of truth comes, this Spirit will lead you into all truth.Ē It is an outstanding, an astonishing thing, actually, for Jesus to have said when you think about it. Itís pretty hard to believe, actually, this promise that the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth because the Christian Church, like all other religions, has so often been wrong about things.Throughout the years we thought we knew things that turned out not to be true at all.


There was a time when Christians insisted that the world was flat. The church actually threw people out and excommunicated them because they had learned through science that the earth was round.So there are a lot of times and a lot of things that we have been wrong about, that we have not had truth.


But the promise of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit, Godís presence with us and in our world, would lead us to not only truth but to all truth.I think there is only one way to understand what Jesus was trying to tell us.There is a difference between particular things that are true and all truth. There are things that we can say that we believe are true.We can say that God is, or we can say that life is better than death, or that love is better than hate. These are things that we believe are true.But there are things that we thought were true that turn out that we have been wrong about. We have passed on to you through the confirmation process things that we thought were true that may turn out not to be true.


One of the reasons I love confirmation is because itís a reminder to me that we need to be faithful only for our own lifetime.We need to discover only the truth that we can discover in our own lifetime. There were those who went before us who passed the faith onto us, who taught it to us, and they knew the truth that they had for their lifetime. But there was still more truth to be learned, that we learned. There is still more truth to be learned that you will learn.I donít need to know every thing, because long after Iím gone you will still be learning and you will discover new truths that I havenít been able to know in my lifetime. There will be people who will come after you that you will pass the faith onto.They will learn new truth about the faith that you wonít know in your lifetime. It is a relief to me that I donít have to do all the good that could possibly be done for all eternity in my lifetime.I can trust it to you that you will do even better things in your time than we have done.


But I think what Jesus is saying here is not that we told you everything that is absolutely true, but that it is possible for you to know all of the truth that really matters.Thereís a difference between things that are true and all truth that Jesus was talking about.


All truth is really not about facts and itís not about theories that may be true or false.All truth is about the meaning and the significance of life. Itís about the way we live our life.All truth is not something that we discovered that Jesus said; itís something that the Holy Spirit guides us into, directs us into.Itís not about what we know, but about the way we live. You can know about the way to live.And the way we know how to live is the way that Jesus showed us to live by the way he lived.


When Jesus was trying to teach his disciples all truth, the only important truth that you and I really need to know, what Jesus did was to sit at a meal with his disciples and to take some bread and to break it.What he said to his disciples is that Godís heart is broken for you the way this bread is broken. God wants your heart to be broken for others when they are in need. Then Jesus took a cup and he poured wine into it and he said that all you really need to know, the really important truth, is that Godís love is poured out for us like this wine is poured into a cup. God wants us to pour out our life and love for one another and for the world around us.


This is all truth. Everything else is facts and theories. They may be important. But all truth is simply this: Godís heart breaks for us, and our hearts should break for one another. Godís love is poured out like wine into a cup. Our love and life should be poured out for one another. This is all the truth you need to live as disciples of Jesus Christ and as children of God.May we know it even if we canít put it into words as we celebrate together this holy meal.