The energy of God's Spirit
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor
Friday, 25 May 2012 07:07
(Editor's note: Many Christian churches will celebrate Pentecost on Sunday. The day celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirt to Christ's apostles. Thus, this week's 14th part of the series, "Life With God's Energy" focuses on the Holy Spirit)
From the Cowardly Lion's proclamation of "I do believe in spooks," in the "Wizard of Oz" to the hit "Ghostbusters" movie series and Ebenezer Scrooge's visits from the ghosts of Christmas, popular culture and folklore are filled with tales of ghosts and spirits.
It may be sacrilegious to compare such mundane references as these to the Holy Spirit (also sometimes referenced as the Holy Ghost), however, it may be the best way for some people to grasp the power of one of the members of the Trinity.
The concept, for those not familiar, involves the Holy Spirit being one of three components of a triune God in many Christian faith traditions. The members of the Holy Trinity are God the father or creator; the Divine Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit.
The latter is likely the most difficult to conceive, let alone fully understand. At the same time it is also the easiest to connect with the energy of God.
One of the more common images of the Holy Ghost is the dove, a symbol of purity and peace. (As seen in the above illustration) Contrast that peaceful image with the more energetic symbols of wind and fire.
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire. ... And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost," as cited in various translations. (Acts 2:2-4).
Jesus had spoke of the Holy Spirit in a similar way in John's Gospel, (John 3:8).
Fire is also referenced in Matthew's Gospel, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." (Matthew 3:11)
A fiery image of the Spirit evokes references to opposing properties of fire, which can be destructive as well as transforming and purifying. Fire also provides warmth and illuminates. Despite fire's destructive power, the Holy Spirit is generally considered is a constructive spirit - one which is there to guide the human race and lead us on a path to God's glory.
The idea of a spirit all around is not unique to the Christian faith. Hinduism and Taoism have similar concepts. Judaism notes God's spirit in the Hebrew Bible, but the actual concept of the Holy Spirit is not part of that faith tradition. It should be noted not all denominations within Christianity accept the belief of a Triune God. That group includes, but is not limited to Mormanism, Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Science.
The Cowardly Lion's declaration of "I do believe in spooks," is one of fear. The character "sees" things he does not understand, he views them as evil and to be feared. Similarly, the "Ghostbusters" seek to capture evil ghosts and spirits to calm the city. This is not the forum to delve into the concept of the devil. Suffice to say some connect evil spirits such as these with Satan and Hell.
Like energy and other aspects of God, the Holy Spirit is seldom physically seen. Yet endless witnesses have seen the results of the Spirit's work. We have seen it in our lives, felt it in our hearts and try to live it in our faith journey on Earth.
Jesus states in the Bible, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)
Christ is giving information about the power of the spirit and how to recognize the works and holy words of the Spirit in everyday life.
Perhaps we should think of the Holy Spirit working in a similar fashion as the appearances to Scrooge. In "A Christmas Carol" each spirit opened the character's eyes to the life Scrooge was leading and helped him to change.
Different faith traditions attribute different properties to God's Spirit. One common belief are the "seven gifts" which are wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe, right judgement, knowledge, courage and reverence. (Based on Cor. 12:7-13) These are examples of the Holy Spirit's power through the faithful.
If we strive to see and hear the Spirit of God, we can better focus our lives in the direction God wants for us. God is perpetually at work around us. It is our charge to be open in mind and body, heart and soul, to receive those messages. We need to tune into God's frequency and connect with the energy which drives our decisions, fuels our daily lives and focuses our goals.