Monday, May 5, 2014

Third Person - An Interaction with the Holy Spirit

Both my congregation and denomination have struggled to articulate the role of the Holy Spirit. God the Father and Jesus the Son receive our prayers and praise and thanks and holidays. We leave a dash of speculation, ounce of skepticism, and pinch of curiosity for the Third Person of the Trinity. I suspect this grieves Him (Eph. 4:30).

I've wanted to stir up greater awareness of the Holy Spirit. I've looked for a way to celebrate Pentecost without turning in my denominational loyalty card and "going Charismatic." In two words, I've wanted "spiritual unction." And I may be headed in the right direction.

File:Žeimių bažnyčia 3.JPGOn Resurrection Sunday, I started a seven-week independent study on the Holy Spirit called Third Person. The curriculum grew out of several books and biblical reflection on the role of the Third Person. The material broke down neatly into seven, Spirit-focused topics. Each week I explore the Bible, expound the topic, and exercise the relationship. For example, the last week I considered The Great Succession: how the Members of the Trinity line up.

The Holy Spirit descended fifty days after Jesus' death (Acts 2). God's Son sent the Third Person of the Trinity to empower the church in her witness. The Spirit fell on believers, and they spoke in tongues. The Spirit filled believers, and they became bold. The Spirit united believers, and they shared freely and enjoyed peace.

The Trinity provides a beautiful picture of love and submission and shared responsibility. Throughout the New Testament, Father, Son, and Spirit are linked together in name (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14) and redemptive function (Romans 8; Ephesians 1:3-15; 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-8). God is Father, Creator, and Covenant-maker. Jesus is Son and King and Savior, sent by God. And the Spirit is Comforter, Guide, Truth-teller, and Power-giver, sent by God and Son (John 14:26; 15:26).

The Spirit placed third in the line of succession, but this does not make Him third-tier. In fact, He embraces His role of directing our attention to Father and Son, like a move soundtrack would draw us further into a film.
But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He won't draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. (John 16:12-15, the Message)

1 comment:

Matt Boren said...

I like the soundtrack analogy. It resonates with me...