5-18-15 - Inspired

Next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This week I will reflect on the Holy Spirit generally, rather than looking at specific biblical texts. (If you want to explore the Acts 2 reading, see last year’s Water Daily, June 2-6, 2014) After all, the Holy Spirit is the God-Person who makes possible everything we experience as Christians, our faith, our praises, our prayers, our ministries. I would go so far as to say there can be no Church without the Holy Spirit.

In fact, I once wrote a sermon drama one called “It’s a Wonderful Trinity," the ridiculous premise of which was borrowed from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The Holy Spirit is feeling depressed about his usefulness, since the Father and the Son seem to get a lot more attention. (Theologians would call this a very weak Pneumatology, or Doctrine of the Holy Spirit!) An angel – did I name him Clarence? – has to show him what the world and the church might be like if there were no Holy Spirit. We see a really dull sermon, a choir singing listlessly and out of tune, people unable to carry out ministries with any effectiveness, and the like. It was very silly - and I hope it got people thinking about how the Spirit affects our lives as carriers of the Gospel.

It is easy to overlook the operation of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit focuses our attention on Jesus. Jesus likened the Spirit to the wind, which we know by its effects on other things and only “see” as it carries matter through the air. So it is with the Holy Spirit – we know her presence by the fruit our ministries bear, or by our experience of the presence of God in prayer or worship, or by what we see in other people, or others see and hear in us.

The Holy Spirit enables us to pray and praise, to experience peace, to wield spiritual power, to bear the fruit of love and healing in our lives. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is seen as the source of power, wisdom, creativity, comfort, prophecy, gifts for ministry, and virtues like joy and patience. The Spirit, who is the spirit of the Father and the Son, is the way we experience God.

When and where do you most often experience or discern the movement of the Spirit? Can you tell the difference when you're praying or acting on your own steam or in the Spirit?

When and where are you conscious of seeing the movement of the Spirit in people or situations?

The word "spirit" is related to our words for inspiration and for respiration, or breathing. I pray that, as we focus this week of the various ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives as Christians, we will increase our lung capacity, as it were, making more space within for God's loving presence, God's transforming power. Be inspired; breathe God in!

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