Confession time: I’m one of those folks who appreciate groan-worthy puns and thought-provoking riddles. Here are some for your enjoyment. (Answers appear at the bottom of this page.)
How does Moses make coffee?
What is a dentist’s favorite hymn?
Who was the best investor in the Bible?
We don’t understand it. We take it for granted. We trust it whole-heartedly. What is it?
That last riddle, unlike the others, is a serious one. The answer? The Holy Spirit. For many of us, it’s the hardest-to-grasp part of the Holy Trinity. It is also the focus of the last installment of a three-part Gather Bible study on The Apostles’ Creed, written by the Rev. Julia Seymour. “Tough to describe,” the Holy Spirit is “easier to see in the wake of the movements and actions the Spirit inspires and leaves behind,” Seymour writes.
What might some of those movements and actions look like? Jesus gives us a glimpse in Luke 4:18, where he says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Indeed, we often refer to the Holy Spirit as Comforter, Proclaimer, Renewer and Advocate.
I find it helpful to envision the Holy Spirit’s place within the entire Trinity. My childhood pastor, the Rev. Dr. Charles Infelt, used to say that while evil isolates us (separating us from each other), God in Christ reconciles us (to God and each other). Over time, I’ve come to see how God in the Spirit works in and through us to love and serve our neighbors.
Just a few examples of spirit-led service from this issue: In making quilts for others, Kristine Luber pieces together the relationship between creativity and the Holy Spirit. Her quilts are a blessing and inspiration to those who receive them. The Rev. Joy McDonald Coltvet remembers a time when an advocate spoke up for her family, and she stood up for someone with a very different set of life circumstances than her own. The Holy Spirit encourages us to “speak truth when the fruits of the Spirit are endangered,” the Rev. Anna Madsen tells us.
How do you know the Spirit is working in you? I like what author Barbara Brown Taylor says in Home by Another Way (1999): “…Whenever you find yourself speaking with eloquence you know you do not have or offering forgiveness you had not meant to offer—whenever you find yourself taking risks you thought you did not have the courage to take or reaching out to someone you had intended to walk away from—you can be pretty sure that you are (receiving a part) of the Holy Spirit,” she writes. “And more than that, you are taking part in it, breathing in and breathing out, taking God into you and giving God back to the world again, with some of you attached.”
Riddle answers: 1. Hebrews it! 2. Crown Him With Many Crowns(ELW 855), written by Matthew Bridges (Yes, bridges!). 3. Pharaoh’s daughter. She went to the bank of the Nile and pulled out a little prophet (profit). Alternative answer: Noah, because while everyone else was in liquidation, he was floating stock.
Elizabeth Hunter is editor of Gather.
This article is from the November 2017 issue of Gather magazine. To read more like it, subscribe to Gather.