Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Holy Ghost?

We don't use "Holy Ghost" anymore. Too many connotations of Hogwarts' hallways and Casper's image I guess. Maybe we've tamed the Holy Presence as we've become accustomed to hearing about the "spirit".

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday and we'll sing Holy, Holy, Holy because it has the "Blessed Trinity" language in it. And I'll try to figure out a message to share with middle elementary children. Perhaps we'll even change the paraments to white like our high church friends. But who really understands the Trinity? It's a non-scriptural doctrine that was fought over in the early Councils of Bishops. Even today it is not understood. Did God raise Jesus from the dead or did Jesus/God raise himself? Is it God's Spirit who comes or Christ's or is the Paraclete something unto itself? Or do we merely answer, "Yes" to all questions and go home to forget about it for another year?

Somehow we have to get out of our heads this Sunday without resorting to magical thinking. (We'll save that sermon for the Sunday after the new Harry Potter movie premiers.) If we want to understand the "Blessed Trinity" we must do so with our hearts and bodies, with perhaps just a little bit of our minds. Last week we had a unity service and even though most of our minds couldn't understand the Spanish or the Khmer, we knew the Spirit was there. We could feel it in the presence of our sisters and brothers. We saw it in the excitment all around us. We heard it in the clapping, we felt it as we swayed and sang "Alleluia". God's Spirit? Christ's Spirit, Paraclete? YES to all for it was the great creating spirit that made us each with different skin and language and yet all children of God. Christ's reconciling action brought us together as it brought us close to the Holy. And we were comforted in our common humanity and our need of that which is more than we are. The Holy Ghost was there, beyond our understanding and empowering us for faithful service and obedient living. It is a way we experience God with us.

At the end of the service last week, the children of all three congregations came up and led us in singing "Jesus Loves Me". They all had to be taught the song over the last couple of weeks as it is a song of the past. As they lined up, I looked out and saw the same look on every face, that delight in OUR children. The Holy Spirit was there, linking us in common experience of the Divine, even if our expressions of it are vastly different. What better definition of Trinity could there be?

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