Friday, May 3, 2013

The Holy Spirit

   A friend joked recently about me coming into their class to help teach on the Holy Spirit, implying they needed help because the topic is so elusive. They were right, for sure. It is hard to get your arms around something called Spirit or Ghost!
The Spirit portrayed as a
dove, on a stained-glass
window in Epworth's Sanctuary.
   The Apostle's Creed we recite is built upon the three parts of our we understand God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The teachings of the church since its earliest days center on the three-part nature of God, which we call the Trinity. We use such language to get our minds around how God has operated through history and how the Bible teaches us about God. In truth, most of what we know about God relates to the first two persons of the Trinity. We believe God to be like a powerful, creative, loving Father. This is the first person. We know God as humble, miracle-working, obedient, suffering Savior. This is the second person. Yet, we know little of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. 
   If you went searching a textbook you'd find that the Holy Spirit functions to reveal truth to us. The Holy Spirit is critical to the relationship we have with Christ. The Holy Spirit is also the power of God to bring us together as one, which is the highest goal of God for all believers. Basil of Caesarea, who lived in the 300's, wrote this:
All who are in need of sanctification turn to the Spirit; all those seek him who live by virtue, for his breath refreshes them and comes to their aid in the pursuit of their natural and proper end. Capable of perfecting others, the Spirit himself lacks nothing. He is not a being who needs to restore his strength, but himself supplies life; he does not grow by additions, but possesses abundant fullness; he abides in himself, but is also present everywhere. The source of sanctification, a light perceptible to the mind, he supplies through himself illumination to every force of reason searching for the truth. By nature inaccessible, he can be understood by reason of his goodness; filling all things with his power, he communicates himself only to those who are worthy of him, not by sharing himself according to a unique measure but by distributing his energy in proportion to faith. 
   In addition, I offer one small story of how the Spirit is working this week. I was invited to attend a breakfast meeting about a pressing need at Open Door for volunteers to help with childcare during the amazing Circles meetings that now happen every Thursday night. This is where lives are being changed forever for the good. Well, I committed Epworth people to help this week - they needed us badly! As the meeting was ending, I get an email on my  phone from Julie asking if I could watch the boys so she could volunteer at Open Door on Thursday because Becky Britton has sent out an email seeking help. But, no one from Open Door knew Becky was asking - she just knew of the need and was trying to help. So while we were meeting, there were others are work to meet the need! Some could explain this away as coincidence. I say otherwise. The Spirit of God is working for good in and around us. May we have eyes to see it.
   So, I would have gladly obliged my friend but am teaching the Young Adults class right now as we move through the Gospel of Luke each week. I left him to fend for himself. Except he wasn't by himself, was he? That is the very essence of the role of the Holy Spirit. We are not alone. Grace and Peace, Scott

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