When I was a child I used to be a little bit afraid of the Holy Spirit, especially when people referred to Him as the Holy ‘Ghost’; I didn’t like ghosts. When I grew up I realised that He is many things. He is life. He is breath. He is wisdom. He moves upon the waters of creation…
We all know that during the great festival of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came in the form of tongues of fire, descending with great power upon Christ’s disciples. At other times we generally know of Him as a white dove – pure and mysterious. But how can we learn more about Him, and how is He acting in our lives today?
When was the last time we spoke to the Holy Spirit from the depths of our souls? How would we recognize Him? How do we know when He is acting in us? What would we look out for? How do we pray to Him? We know that the Holy Trinity is one God, but what is the Holy Spirit’s specific role? What does He do for us? What does He do in us? What should we be doing for Him?
Before responding to this let us revisit that upper room during that first Pentecost …
The disciples were gathered together, waiting. Jesus had already returned to Heaven during His great ascension and had promised that He would send the Helper to them. Now was the time to watch and wait… Put yourself there.
We are waiting with them.
Perhaps our hearts are beating faster as we wonder: ‘When will it be? What shall we see? How will I feel when He comes?’ Perhaps we are feeling a bit nervous or excited? Maybe they all prayed silently or aloud together? ‘Come, Holy Spirit! Come and infuse us with your Love!’
Put yourself in the scene… Maybe it was like this…
How exhilarating! How frighteningly beautiful!
Don’t you just wish it would happen like this again – the way our world is now? That everyone on earth would stand still, drop our petty hates, drop our weapons, drop our burdens, and allow Him to melt away all of our pains? That we would absorb Him, then go and spread His word?
Many Pentecost Sundays celebrated in my church have coincided with near gale-force windy weather. It is the changing of the seasons from Autumn to Winter for us, but I like to believe that the wind is no coincidence. As I hear the old wooden frames of my church flexing in these conditions, I like to imagine that the Holy Spirit is coming down upon us. Perhaps that is how it sounded for them in that upper room?
And then the disciples started speaking in different languages – words that they had never heard of before. Their hearts were bursting with love and a rampant desire to go and share the Good News about Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, what they had seen! What they had heard! Now they had great zeal to spread His word. Now was the time to take action! Now is the time for us to take action too.
Let us revisit the questions I posed at the beginning of this post. How do we recognize the Holy Spirit in our lives today? What does He actually do for us? How can we know that He is acting in us? What are the signs? How do we pray to Him? How can we foster our relationship with and love for Him? Let us consider the following tips and resources to learn more…
- First, learn about who the Holy Spirit is.
- What does He do?
- What are the signs or gifts of the Spirit?
- Turn to Him daily and speak to Him.
- Do you know how to hear His voice?
- Learn how to foster your relationship with and love of the Holy Spirit.
- Find your own set of prayers to the Holy Spirit to start.
His fire, burning,
Is our only hope of change.
Our hearts, yearning,
For His gifts are what we need.
His call, turning,
In our minds and souls will feed us.
His love, churning,
For our poor, longing world.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.