Self Expression Magazine

Miracles at the Workplace? “The Holy Spirit is on Line Four…”

By Shrinkingthecamel


I have spent that past few weeks reading intently through the four Gospels, and finally finished the last one, the Gospel of John. The next morning I went to sit in my Chair of Quiet Meditation like usual and picked up the bible to start reading again. But where to go from here? Those gospel stories were so good! Should I brace myself for the intellectual rigor of the letters of Paul? Enjoy the free form manic-depressive beauty of the Psalms? How about giving the minor prophets a whirl, to switch things up a bit? But, mostly out of laziness, I decided to simply turn to the next page from where my bookmark was and begin reading whatever was next. It happened to be the Acts of the Apostles.

Ah, yes, Acts. This narrative tale is Luke’s sort of follow-up story to what happened after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken back into heaven. Acts tells of all the amazing feats and adventures of those first Christian leaders. After enjoying the gospels so much, it only made sense to read the sequel.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed at first. Sure, those Apostles are okay, but I missed Jesus. After spending so many weeks immersed in stories focused entirely on the life and ministry of Jesus, I had gotten quite attached to him: charming, witty, super-smart, compassionate, doesn’t take BS from anyone, intense – and then coming back to life from the dead! What can possibly compare to that? But I stuck with Acts. And sure enough, before long things started to pick up. Most notably in Acts, the Holy Spirit makes several surprise appearances, getting right down to business and giving a super-size spiritual boost to those early Christians.

The Holy Spirit is quite a mystery. Luke, the author of Acts, goes around talking about the Holy Spirit like it’s something we should have known about all along, even though there really is never a good explanation to set it up. I mean, the Holy Spirit shows up right away, in Acts chapter one, verse two, when Luke is speaking about Jesus: “…after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the Apostles…” and then again in  verse 5, “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Huh? Who? Will it hurt? Can we back up a sec?

It reminds me of a friend of mine who, when talking to me, will mention names of people I have never met before. I have no idea who they are, but they happen to be starring characters in the story he is relaying. “So, ” he starts telling me, “I flew out to headquarters last week and Barry said that he wanted to smash the two divisions under one leader so that they would be more integrated and he asked me if I would step up…” I might have stopped my friend mid-story to ask who this Barry is, but part of me is thinking that maybe I am supposed to know Barry. Perhaps my friend is thinking that Barry and I met at some function in the recent past, and my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I am embarrassed to ask. Plus, my friend has built up such momentum in recounting his story, that interrupting for such a minor detail would kind of throw off his gait. I figure that maybe I can piece it together a little at a time, based on the context. After a few minutes I draw the conclusion that Barry must be the Chairman of my friend’s company, or something like that. At least that’s how the story ends up making sense in my own mind. “Yeah, no, sure. Barry.”

It’s the same thing with the scriptures. There really isn’t a formal introduction to the Holy Spirit at any point, and you are left trying to figure out how he/she/it fits into the scheme of things. It seems to me that the Apostles should have written an intermediary book between the Gospels and the Acts that describes in more detail how this Holy Spirit system works, rather than leaving it up to centuries of confused theologians and scholars to put forth theories to try and make sense of it. A Holy Spirit Primer, of sorts, would have been very helpful. Is the Holy Spirit a form of God? Is it Jesus’ envoy to replace his physical presence? A separate ghostly wisp of a thing that hangs out in a parallel spiritual dimension alongside God and Jesus? Can I pray to it? Can it forgive my sins? Is it a form of energy, or is it more like a person? I am left a bit sketchy trying to piece it all together.

Image by Pixabay

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