John 16:12; Proverbs 8:1
by Ulrike R. M. Guthrie
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
Like so many eager young people, we told Roberta we intended to write our own individualized wedding vows. Wise woman that she is, our professor, friend, and pastor, instead of pouring cold water on the idea, simply asked us this: What precisely did we want to communicate that wasn’t covered by the familiar “to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, as long as we both shall live” vows? Good question.
The common task of the Spirit of truth and of wisdom is quite simply to lead us into the truth. Some ask whether Jesus didn’t in fact mean us to expect ongoing revelation, new and exciting individualized words from God. After all, new ethical, social, and political situations arise constantly in our lives. We view them through the lens of Jesus’ teachings or words, certainly, but perhaps more than anything through the lens of his behavior, how he lived what he professed.
Individualized designer wedding vows are all very well, but the proof of our intentions relative to any vows we may make is in how we live out those promises over the long haul. When our spouse suffers from depression or Alzheimer’s, when passions wane and job layoffs or retirement strains our finances, how then do we love and cherish our spouse? How do we speak to our child the day he really disappoints us? How do we work toward good relations with a neighbor who took us aback with her rudeness on our first day in the neighborhood? Or how do we share a pew, let alone “one Lord,” with those Christians who won’t embrace the new hymnal or pass the peace with our lesbian daughter, who can’t imagine a woman in the pulpit or can’t imagine not having one there or those who show up for worship but never to help with Saturday church cleanup?
Come Holy Spirit, guide us and keep us living steadfastly in the truth. Amen.