Discussion for May 31:
Who or what is the Holy Spirit? I believe that the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ presence with us (John 14:15-19). That is why Jesus said he had to leave before he sent the Holy Spirit. Last time we met, we talked about the Ascension of Jesus – when he returned to heaven after 40 days of showing himself to his disciples after his death and resurrection.
One of the Greek words for the Holy Spirit is paracletos. It translates in the world of the courthouse, as legal language, as “advocate” The Holy Spirit is our defense attorney. So in a court case, what does the defense attorney do? – They have our back. They represent us. They believe in us and in our story. The Holy Spirit is not the judge or prosecutor. He’s on our side. He wants what’s best for us. The Holy Spirit will advocate for you against those who accuse, against every obstacle, against the voice in your head that says you’re not good enough.
Another word used in the Bible for the Holy Spirit is the Hebrew word Ruach. It means spirit, wind, or breath. When someone makes the decision to become a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit enters that person as if he was breathed in. The air you breathe becomes a part of your system. It gives you life. God gives you life.
God’s very life, breath and energy lives in, with and among us. Christians experience this life through Jesus because they see the Spirit so fully manifest in him. The Holy Spirit is the Yes of God within us. As in: yes you are fully loved just the way you are, yes you matter, yes, you are beautiful, wonderful, and so very special.
When the decision to become a follower of Jesus is made, you don’t look out at reality anymore; you look out from reality. In other words, God is not “out there”: you are in God and God is in you.
Our problems, personal, relational, political and global, are so complex and multifaceted, and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. We need power from beyond ourselves to address challenges, and that power comes to us through the Holy Spirit. We also need love, perfect, Godly love. Love is more necessary than ever. Jesus’ love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is essential.
Maybe God is hinting to us that in the Spirit we can come together to be in community, to reverse division, hatred, and that sort of stuff . . . to bring about the kingdom of God. That is what we ask for when we pray the Lord’s Prayer – “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” The Spirit within us teaches us how to live in community with each other and the world will be a better place as more people believe and learn to live in God’s way. God has designed the world as a very good place. He declared it so in the creation story. But people have made a big mess of it because they often chose their own ways instead of God’s ways.