Church Write-Up: “I Believe in the Holy Spirit…”

At church last Sunday, we continued our series on the Apostle’s Creed. The theme was “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”

The youth pastor talked about how the Holy Spirit empowers and strengthens people for Christian service. You know the times when you are sharing the Gospel, and you are not entirely sure how the words are coming out of your mouth? That is the Holy Spirit. The youth pastor most likely was not saying that the Spirit possesses believers, but rather that the believer is caught up in something beyond himself or herself. Something is working on the inside and bringing what is on the inside to the outside. I cannot say that this has happened to me, as far as I can recall. It is awkward for me to try to sell any belief to another person, including Christianity. In the times that I have been “bold,” I did not feel authentic. I was trying to obey some command to witness, which felt forced and artificial, or I was seeking to bring attention to myself by being controversial. When the latter was the case, being the people-pleaser that I am, I could easily find myself compromising my Christian beliefs to make other people like me. While I have not experienced what the youth pastor was talking about, I can envision it as an experience.

The pastor then preached about the Holy Spirit. His main text was Ezekiel 37, which is about the valley of dry bones. God asked Ezekiel if those bones could live. According to the pastor, Ezekiel was caught in a dilemma. He didn’t want to say “no” because that would indicate that he had no faith. But he did not want to be presumptuous and answer “yes,” for, on their own, the bones could not live. Ezekiel left the answer to God by saying that God knows.

The pastor also said that the Holy Spirit is rather nebulous to us. The Father and the Son are expressed in personal and relatable terms: Father and Son. The Son even has a name, “Jesus.” If the Spirit had a name, such as “Bob,” perhaps we would relate to him better. And yet, even though the Spirit is arguably the most nebulous, hard-to-grasp member of the Trinity, he is relationally close to us. The same Hebrew term for Spirit is also the term for “breath,” indicating that the Spirit is as close to us and as intimate with us as our own breath. And, when we are exhausted and do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us before the Father (Romans 8:26-27).

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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