Dancing About Architecture
“The Spirit gives birth to spirit …You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” – John 3:6-8 NIV
To paraphrase Frank Zappa, “Talking about the Holy Spirit is like dancing about architecture.” Some things just have to be experienced. I remember buying our kids their very first Slurpee. It was a hot day. Their thirst was intense.
I said, “You’ll love it. It’s like a Coke, but its like ice-cream. You eat it with a straw, but the straw has a spoon at the end of it. It’s frozen, but its also carbonated. Do you understand?”
They looked perplexed and irritated. Ten minutes later, as the icy, sugary slush hit their brains and cooled their skin while they held that tiny plastic spoon-straw in their teeth – they understood.
We like to explain things in the UCC. But the Spirit is inexplicable. That might be its best asset. Our religion rests upon the knowledge of God that Christ gives us. That’s great, but it is good to be reminded that God is also wild and uncontainable. She goes where she will go. Sometimes like a rushing wind and sometimes so quietly you barely sense her.
The best definition of the Holy Spirit I’ve ever read is in a poem: “A Light Breather” by Theodore Roethke. Read it here. I don’t understand it. I just feel its power and I know it’s beautiful.
Dear God, thank you for giving us your Spirit.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.