Glimpses of the Holy Spirit
The promise of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the power of God. That is something to remember when there seems to be an emphasis on the gentleness of the Holy Spirit. That’s fine. The Holy Spirit respects our God-given free will. In last Friday’s blog post I spoke about the relationship with the Holy Spirit being like drinking water, but to drink water you have to turn the tap on, it’s up to you. But behind that cool gentle water, there is a strong force pushing it out, either the force of pumps pumping the water from the reservoir or gravity pulling the water from a tank. In either case, valves are used to control the pressure.
Moses and Pentecost
A combination of fire and wind can be very destructive, as the 2019/2020 Australian wildfires have shown. Fire and storm were phenomena that accompanied God giving the law to Moses and repeated when the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, the power of God was poured out on the Church. Church with a big C, the universal Church, that is all of us.
But before this Jesus had given the disciples glimpses of how the Holy Spirit worked by example through his own teaching and healing ministry and when he sent our the 12 Apostles to teach and heal and later with the 72. (Luke 9:1–2 & 10:1–4). He also promised them that they were the ones on whom the Spirit would come.
25 ‘All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:24–27 NIV UK
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would teach us, remind us of things and bring peace. This is not the language of legalism and rules nut of intimacy and relationship.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher or probably closer tutor. I say tutor because there is a more intimate relationship here one of question and answer. It is a two-way thing, we need to want to learn in order to be taught, otherwise, it’s the kind of learning that hurts. I am stubborn, the Holy Spirit has had to be less than gentle with me. Patience and gentleness, gifts of the Spirit, are the way the Holy Spirit operates, bur conviction for sin is another, way which I have found in my life is more common. You will notice a lot about repentance and forgiveness in my God blogs, that is because I have had to do a lot of it. If only I could have learnt the easy way.
The COVID question is one that gets in on everything these days. Through January and February this year, from various sources including my own church and social media I was hearing “Do not be afraid.” At that time the UK government’s chief medical officer was saying there was no danger here from coronavirus. The Holy Spirit was giving out a message in preparation to the church that something is coming that will be frightening but that God cares and is still in control. Through these last few weeks of partial lockdown I have been reminded that God is saying, “Do not be afraid,” on top of that another message has been coming in during the lockdown, “God cares.” That does not mean we have to ignore social distancing or reopen churches any time soon, it means that God knows what we are going through and will be with us through this. The Spirit was promised, the Spirit reminds us of God’s promises and the Spirit become a promise, showing us the things that God is doing.
Writing about peace in a pandemic seems strange. But despite what we are going through I am at peace. Despite seeing my father go into hospital, be diagnosed with COVID-19 and have his 92nd birthday there. Since then he has been diagnosed clear twice but there is still a way to go before full recovery. I have reason to worry, I do worry, but when I pray I am at peace. I shouldn’t be, but I am. The words “peace that the world cannot give” and “peace of God that passes all understanding” have become my reality. Not all the time, I am by no means a good Christian, but even my autistic disposition towards anxiety is overruled by the Holy Spirit.
Do not be afraid, God cares.