Sometimes I wonder if we really believe in the Holy Spirit. We certainly acknowledge the existence of the Holy Spirit in our creeds and confessions. We talk about the Holy Spirit in church and in theology classes. We even grant the Holy Spirit its own day – Pentecost Sunday. But still, sometimes I wonder if we believe in the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I wonder if we believe in the Holy Spirit. Does God really communicate to humanity through his Spirit? Does he? If he does, how is that not also his Word? Why does the Bible carry more weight than God’s voice? Are we not really hearing his voice? Is it just our own? If so, does God really communicate to us? Do we really believe in the Holy Spirit then?
Perhaps the role of the Spirit is to guide us. Perhaps its role is to lay upon our hearts the burning truth of God’s Word. That would mean scripture only becomes the Word of God once it has been illuminated by the Spirit, but not the Word of God in and of itself. That would mean it was up to the individual Christian to discern God’s Word. But, how can that be? That is too subjective and we all know that subjective truth is not real.
Is it possible then, that God’s Word is absolute, pure and holy; but that our approach to God is always a subjective one – we are subjects; are we not? Are not the thousands upon thousands of Christian denominations proof that we have believed this all along? Perhaps we are ashamed that we exist in such a paradox. But is it not better to exist in the truth of a paradox than a truth we have invented.
Through our addiction to certainty we have made the Bible an idol; instead of an icon. We have stripped bare all of its meaning through propositionlization and refused scripture to speak on its own terms. All of this – an invention of man. But we act as though it is an invention of God. We place our own prejudices and biases upon a text and we tell the Holy Spirit to move on so we can do our work. Then we send out toxic “truths” to the world all in the name of “well God said it, not me”. My friend, you have replaced God’s Word with your own!
We have sold our lie to society for thirty pieces of silver all of which can still be heard echoing through the Church’s coffers, even today.
Sometimes I wonder if we really believe in the Holy Spirit. If we did wouldn’t the Church look different? I wonder, if we spent as much time in prayer and meditation as we did studying the Bible if our faith would look different? I mean the forefathers of our faith believed in the Holy Spirit and look what good it did them – they were all killed. Look at the early Church Fathers. They believed in the Holy Spirit and look what it got them – persecution. Encounters with the Spirit of God are life changing – Pentecost, Paul, Constantine, etc.
Brothers and sisters our story is a tragedy. A tragedy that began once we left the Holy Spirit for the drunken intoxication that comes with power and authority. A tragedy that begins with unionization and persecution. The irony – the Bible. A book of documents meant to bring unity to the Church instead brought dissent, war, persecution, and hate. A story still being told today! A sacred book of scriptures meant to bring about the Holy Word of God within those who believe in the true Word of God – Jesus Christ; instead became the Word of God itself.
“The Word of God”, there it sits. Isn’t she lovely as she sparkles upon the grand podium of history. She shines even brighter when encased in Gold. And there we sit alongside it, ensconced in our grand Cathedrals of knowledge. In a courageous, yet audacious act we ask “what is truth”, when thumbing through its pages; while all along our Lord stands before us ready to answer.
Sometimes I wonder if we really believe in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps until we realize our need for repentance we will never know.