The Holy Spirit - Anne Marie Lee - 11 April 2002greenspun.com : LUSENET : Experience into Words : One Thread
Anne Marie Lee 11th April 2002
This is a talk I have prepared, yet to be delivered, to a particular, pretty conservative group of people. I found writing it a very prayerful experience and thought I'd like to share it with you.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit in 50 BC:
The Holy Spirit was active in the world long before Jesus came on earth. In Solomon’s quest for Wisdom he says “And so I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me..... What I have learned diligently, I shall pass on liberally, I shall not conceal how rich she is. For she is to human beings an inexhaustible treasure,.....
For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd, irrisistible, beneficient, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits. For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God.............
Although she is alone, she can do everything; herself unchanging, she renews the world, and, generation after generation, passing into holy souls, she makes them into God’s friends and prophets; for God loves only those who dwell with Wisdom.” Wisdom, extracts from Ch. 7 and 8.
Who is this Holy Spirit?
God the Holy Spirit is the Helper promised by God the Son and sent from God the Father. There are many symbols for the Holy Spirit, none of which do her justice. While she is neither male nor female I like to think of her as the feminine dimension of the Trinity. The one who flows through all aspects of human life like cool clear water. “She is a breath of the power of God” God breaths Himself into us.
When the Holy Spirit is flowing freely in people you can pick up the glow if you are tuned in. We become like lamps, each one is beautiful with its coloured glass, but there is no glow until the candle is ignited and the flame adds a whole other dimension to the lamp. Just as we lit these lamps we also can ignite the Holy Spirit in each other. When we are open to it we can recognise the glow of the Holy Spirit in others energising Herself in us.
Let me give you an example of how the Spirit works in me. Before Easter I gave a parenting course to sixteen young mothers. I was very impressed with one of the Mums and I approached her and invited her to take part in a project we are running. She agreed. When I gave her name to my colleague who runs that project she reminded me that this was the girl who, a few years previously was badly raped by a man who broke into her house one night when she was alone with her six year old daughter and a new baby. Her husband worked nights. The little girl witnessed what was happening and rang her grannie telling her that a man was attacking her mammy. The police were called and the matter dealt with appropriately.
About half way through the course this young girl aproached me after a session and told me that something I had said (that the Holy Spirit caused me to say) had madeher realise that she needed professional help, counselling. With tears in her eyes she began to tell me the story but I stopped her saying “I know your story”. “Thank God, she said, “I was dreading how I would tell you” Do you see how the Spirit protected her? She told me she had been so busy putting a brave face on things and seeing that all who had been affected by the event were cared for and counselled that she forgot to look after herself. Now she realised how much pain she was in and that she needed help if she was to move forward.
My colleague and I arranged counselling for her. She is now attending a health course I’m running and last week she talked in the group about how happy she now was since she started doing these courses. How important it was for her to come out of her isolation and join in activities with other people and talk about things. She didn’t reveal her history. This is the Holy Spirit in action, not only in her but in me and in the group. I am very aware of the Spirit and She is easily missed if you are not tuned in.
The Holy Spirit and prophecy:
“So we have confirmation of the words of the prophets; and you will be right to pay attention to it as to a lamp for lighting a way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds. At the same time, we must recognise that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual. For no prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.” 2 Peter 1: 19-21
Now I certainly don’t consider myself to be a prophet in the scriptural sense, however we are all prophets for each other. I was a prophet of sorts for that girl because of whatever I said, prompted by the Spirit, which made her realise her need for help. She was dull and now she glows. She was unhappy and now she is happy and that girl has the potential and the will to pass on comfort and support to many others in this project she has volunteered to be part of. Hence, the ripple effect.
Don’t be looking for the spectacular gifts of the Holy Spirit. The wonderful gifts are there in abundance in the ordinariness of human life and activity; just sharpen your senses to them.
The Holy spirit and prayer:
“And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words, and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God.” Romans. 8: 26-27
Prayer is the channel through which we decern what it is God wants of us. In fact God wants nothing of us but, through prayer we may decern what we should do with our lives to best please God. How we might best praise God with our lives. There are many right ways to pray and when we feel unable to pray we turn to the Holy Spirit and she will take over for us. When we are unsure what we should do we turn to the Holy Spirit and she guides us. Sometimes Her message is not clear or we are not sufficiently open to accepting direction from Her. Sometimes we go along a side path and have to come back when we realise our mistake. The main thing is to be open, completely open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and pray for the courage to follow those promptings.
I would like to quote from an article in Review for Religious Sept.-Oct. 1987 by Robert Stoudt a clergyman of the United Church of Christ.
He is not actually talking about the Holy Spirit but in reading the following I realised his words were describing the kind of risk we must be prepared to take if we are to be truely open to the Spirit of God.
“There is one thing, perhaps above all else, that we human beings seem inclined to do, even at great expense to ourselves - namely, to maintain to the best of our ability, the status quo. To our minds, “the way that things are” is the way that things should remain. After all, we know what the givens are here. We know what to expect from life - and what not to expect. There is order and logic and consistency here. We know the perimeters within which we live. We know the speed and direction of our lives. Within the existing scheme of things, then, there is a fundamental sense of predictability, of security, even of control over ourselves. We conclude, therefore, that our responsibility consists of the management of our essentially mechanistic personal system.
It should be no surprise, then, that, to our minds, “the way that things are” is almost always preferable to the “the way that things could be.” After all, we rarely know all the givens in what is novel or foreign to us. Regarding “the way that things could be,” we do not know what we can realistically expect, or what the perimeters are, or what the direction is that our lives may take. A willingness to receive “the way that things could be” entails an openness to a world where order, logic and consistency shrivel and melt before something which is out of the ordinary. Here, in short, there is fundamental unpredictability and uncertainty. And that undercuts our self-righteous security and slaps us awake to the numbing existential fact that we are not - indeed, that we have never been - in control of either our present or our future.”
There is so much more to be said but I will conclude by thanking you, Spirit of God, for directing me in putting together this talk, knowing that, as always, it will be a disturbance for some and for others a blessing.
And so be it!
Anne Marie Lee.
-- Anonymous, April 11, 2002
Anne Marie, I like the use you make of scripture in this talk. You have good, substantial quotes which say a lot in theselves, and then you talk in relationship to them. I think this works well.
You write: "Don't be looking for the spectacular gifts of the Holy Spirit". I am just a little bit wary here. I am thinking that we shouldn't make too small a measure and decide in advance what it is that God might be up to or should be up to in us. This is something that is, of course, corrected elsewhere in your piece (e.g. "The main thing is to be open, completely open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and pray for the courage to follow those promptings." and in your quote from and comments on Robert Stoudt).
-- Anonymous, April 17, 2002