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  • If you have ever heard the phrase "the Holy Spirit"

  • and you want to know what it means,

  • where do you start?

  • Well, you have to start on page one of the Bible.

  • Where the uncreated world is depicted as this

  • dark chaotic place. But then, above the chaos

  • God's Spirit is there, hovering, ready to bring about life and order and beauty.

  • Okay, but what is God's Spirit?

  • Yeah, so the Spirit is the way the Biblical authors

  • talk about God's personal presence.

  • The Hebrew word is Ruakh.

  • Ruu-a-achh? Yeah, you've gotta clear your throat at the end.

  • So, what is it?

  • Ruakh can refer to a number of different things,

  • but what they all have in common is energy.

  • Energy? How so?

  • So, there's an invisible energy,

  • that makes the clouds move or the tree branches sway.

  • Right, wind. So in Hebrew,

  • that's Ruakh. Okay!

  • Now, take a big breath, uwwshh!

  • So you feel that, inside you.

  • Yeah, the air?

  • Well, specifically the energy,

  • right, the vitality in your body that you get from

  • breathing, deeply,

  • that too is, Ruakh.

  • And this is the same word

  • used in the Bible, to describe God's

  • personal presence.

  • Just like wind and breath are invisible,

  • God's spirit, is invisible.

  • Wind is powerful, and so God's spirit is powerful.

  • And just as breath keeps us alive

  • so God's spirit sustains all of life.

  • Yeah! Ruakh.

  • Now,

  • as we continue on in the story of the Bible

  • We see God's ruakh giving special empowerment to people for specific tasks.

  • The first person in the Bible that happens to

  • is Joseph

  • God's spirit enables him to understand and interpret dreams.

  • And then it happens to this guy named "Betsaleel" and he's an artist!

  • God's spirit empowers him with wisdom and skills.

  • He's given creative genius to make beautiful things in the tabernacle.

  • And we also see God's ruakh empower a group of people called "the prophets".

  • They're able to see what's happening in history from God's point of view.

  • That's exactly right!

  • And here's the problem as the prophet saw it.

  • While God's ruakh had created a really good world

  • humans have given in to evil.

  • They've unleashed chaos into it through their injustice.

  • A new type of disorder.

  • Yes.

  • And the prophet said the spirit would come,

  • just like in Genesis 1,

  • but now, to transform the human heart,

  • to empower people to truly love God and others.

  • How will this new active God spirit happen?

  • Well, centuries past and we're introduced to Jesus.

  • And at the beginning of his mission,

  • there's a beautiful scene where Jesus is being baptized in the waters of the Jordan river.

  • Yeah, the sky opens up and God's spirit comes and rests on him like a bird.

  • The story sang that God's spirit is empowering Jesus to begin the new creation.

  • And we see this happening when he heals people or forgives their sins.

  • He's creating life where there once was death.

  • Now, Israel's religious leaders oppose Jesus and they eventually have him killed.

  • But even here, God's spirit is at work.

  • The earliest disciples of Jesus who saw him alive from the dead

  • said it was God's energizing spirit that raised Jesus.

  • This is the beginning of new creation.

  • Yes, and it is still going.

  • When Jesus appeared to his closest followers,

  • he breathed on them and said "Receive the Holy Spirit."

  • And soon after that, the Spirit powerfully comes on all of his disciples.

  • So that they can become a part of this new creation

  • and share the good news and learn how to live by the energy and influence of God's spirit.

  • And so today, the spirit is still hovering in dark places.

  • Yes, pointing people to Jesus,

  • transforming and empowering them so they can love God and others.

  • And the Christian hope is that the Spirit is going to finish the job.

  • The story of the Bible ends with a vision of a new humanity

  • living in a new world that's permeated with God's love and life-giving spirit.

If you have ever heard the phrase "the Holy Spirit"

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Holy Spirit

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    sophia posted on 2017/06/01
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