Today (30th May) we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit; what Jesus called “the comforter”. The Holy Spirit is what Christians believe allows us to experience God in the world today. The spirit is sometimes described in the Bible as a fire and that certainly can be an accurate description of some of the high points of spiritual experience. But the Bible uses other pictures. At the very start of the Bible, in the creation poem in Genesis, the writer talks of the spirit of God as “brooding” over the face of the primeval waters; a vision of an ever-present spirit who nutures and creates unseen. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as the “comforter”, literally, the one who stands alongside to help.
I love the hymn “Spirit of God, unseen as the wind”; it speaks to my experience of a quiet voice who whispers to me when I will but listen. There are a number of versions of this hymn; I particularly like the one below:
(Refrain) Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,
Gentle as is the dove;
Touch us with love and teach us to sing
Joy to you Lord above.
Your voice the sound, heard in the wind,
O’er fields and hills you sing;
Now I can hear the joy, my Lord,
the peace your song will bring.
Love in our hearts, praise in our prayers,
We follow on your way;
Lord of the sky, Lord of the Earth,
Answer us when we pray.
It is sung to the tune of the Skye Boat Song; you can hear a recording via the link below, although this has different words for the verses (if anyone can find a recording of my favourite words, please let me know!)
The Holy Spirit will not magic away all problems and difficulties, but that Spirit will be alongside us as we face up to them and live with them. And the Holy Spirit is active in our lives, whether we recognise him/her or not. The Spirit sings to us as we go about our lives!