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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hi, Hi Birdie

We had a humorous moment today in class. Yes, humor and theology can go together. We were having a discussion on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, and our professor was discussing how we find it difficult to communicate with or pray to the Holy Spirit. In his words, "I can talk to Jesus, sure, but I don't know how to talk to a bird!"

If you think about our conceptions or ideas of the Holy Spirit, none of them really invoke a warm, relational feeling. The Bible depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove (bird), fire, wind, breath, or even a ghost. We have a difficult time even imaging the Spirit as a personal being as we do with God the Father or Jesus the Son.

And yet, Jesus himself told his followers that it would be good if he went away, and the reason he gave was that if he went away, the Holy Spirit could come. Think about that- Jesus, who had a real, physical body and was talking face to face with his friends, said the best thing he could do was leave so the Spirit could come. I don't know about you, but that tells me the Holy Spirit is pretty important.

Perhaps you, like I, might confess that you don't really know how to approach the Holy Spirit. How do you picture the Spirit? Is He as central to "God" as the Father and the Son, or have you allowed him to be less than significant in your relationship with God?

I'd love to hear from you. May you experience the fullness of the "shy member" of the Trinity today-



Britt said...

I find the Holy Spirit to be invaluable. It's what's within me. It's my means of communication with Christ and Father God. I love that when I don't know what to pray, that the Holy Spirit prays for me. There are times when I feel this ache within...something I can't fully express or I ask the Holy Spirit to help me.
I believe that listening to the Spirit is how I know what God wants from me. He brings things to mind that I am certain I'd never think of on my own.
No, I don't have any trouble with the Holy Spirit, and I don't find him to be shy or mysterious. I am honored and humbled that he'd even consider taking up residence in this old bag of bones. What a gift!

Nick said...

Well said Britt! Maybe you could teach a class- I don't think most people are so comfortable with the Spirit. Many people have had "unusual" church experiences in their past that have tainted their view of the Spirit or even frightened them. Perhaps coming to Christ as an adult helped in that way. :-)

Sheree said...

I don't know if this happens to others but the Holy Spirt is a leading experience to me I believe. I pray for guidence and then the Holy Spirit takes my hand and leads me. For instance I was looking for a card the other day for someone in need. Only ONE had the right words so I bought it. I came home and opend my bible and right where i started reading the words totaly pertained to the situation and the picture that happend to be on the card. I didn't plan it out and didn't look it up. This tends to happen to me a lot with a lot of things. I don't feel it is coinsedence. Also being on fire for the Lord to me is the Holy Spirt leading me. When I cant get enough of him I want to just talk about the word all day long and the way the Holy Spirt has led me. I long to find people to be close to who have that same fire going on.

Sheree said...

You asked how do I picture the Holy Spirt to me I don't I feel it. To me its like a scense, like seeing, hearing, feeling.

Nick said...

Thanks for the thoughts Sheree! I think many of us are with you in "sensing" the Spirit. I think, though, that this becomes problematic because the Spirit is not merely a force or an energy, as some in Easter religions describe spirits. I'm not suggesting you are doing this, but we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is a "person" of the Trinity. He is knowable. You know that- I hope others do as well!

Sheree said...

Thank You... nick for the clearer picture. Yes I do know that the Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity. So yes that would mean He is more than just a sensing. So I geuss I don't know how to picture him. Something to think on...

Britt said...

Teach a class?? Me?? You are a crazy person! I'm just glad my explanation made sense. :D

Anonymous said...

That WAS well said Britt! It's the way I feel, but couldn't put it into words! I think this must be the way it is for many people.

Nick, way to get us thinking and dialoging!


Sister Juliet said...

Hi, Nick! I just stumbled across your blog (again..I've been here before), and I enjoyed several of your posts.

This post reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis, in which he describes the ordinary Christian praying, and how the Trinity is present. He says that God (the Spirit) is within us, sort of nudging us toward prayer. God the Son, Jesus, is beside us, praying with us as we pray, helping us to pray. And our prayers are directed toward God (I don't think he explicitly states that our prayers are directed only to the Father..that would not be good theology).

The Holy Spirit is (for me) that internal guide that helps me find God's work in my everyday life. Thinking of your post on silence...I must be silent within in order to hear where the Holy Spirit speaks to me....which makes it all the more essential to unplug and pray.

Thanks for your thoughtful reflections.


Pastor Nick said...

Good picture of the Trinity, Juliet. I like that very much.

I hope you will stop by frequently and offer some perspective from your tradition- we need to think more broadly in theology and we can help one another do that!