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One way to understand the working of the Holy Spirit is to understand the Spirit as the power of life.
The Genesis 2 story of creation includes this: ‘Gof formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive – a living soul!’
Later you will find Jesus speaking of the Spirit in relation to new birth or being born of the Spirit and, through Jesus, believers receiving life eternal.
We all know the lowest common denominator for humans. We all will die. There is no escaping that truth, that reality. Because of this, there are those who will wield the threat of death and its fear to their own benefit.
This is made brutally clear and plain in the crucifixion. It continues to be made plain in the racism, sexism, terrorism and other ways that crush the breath out of people. Of course, this article is not long enough to come close to mentioning all the ways this happens.
I have committed myself, however imperfectly, to serving the higher power – God’s power of life. There is the story of Jesus’s baptism where the Holy Spirit alights upon him like a dove. It will define his ministry as he goes about bring forth healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and teaching the ways that lead to life.
I pray his baptism will be mine.
I love Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise as a bold and resolute display of the power of life and dignity to overcome the power of death and shame. I leave you with the final stanza of a poem I hope you will some day read in its entirety.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
May the Holy Spirit continue to work within us to give us life and the power to give life and dignity to others … and to do so abundantly!
Rev Tom Telfer,
Kilchrenan and Dalavich l/w Muckairn.