Convictions About the Holy Spirit 1996/2011 (1)

[This is the fifth of a series of six posts on how my faith convictions have changed (or not) in the past 15 years that I have been a college professor. Not long before leaving congregational ministry to begin teaching I did a series of sermons trying to state in concise terms what I understood to be key Christian beliefs. I am posting an excerpts from my sermon on the Holy Spirit here. I will follow this post from 1996 with a post looking briefly at changes (and the lack thereof) in my convictions about Holy Spirit in the past 15 years. Here are links to the first four posts—the first two are on my views of God 15 years ago and on present-day thoughts about God. The third and fourth are on, first, my thoughts from 15 years ago and then some current thoughts on Jesus.]

What Do We Believe About the Holy Spirit?

Ted Grimsrud—January 21, 1996

When I was a fairly young child, my imagination was stirred by the thought of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I’m sure I must have read stories about people finding the pot of gold, maybe I even saw drawings of it.  It seemed like it must be pretty simple to find that pot.  So, one spring day we had a thunder shower, and the sun poked through.  There was a rainbow!  And it looked like it came to an end in the field near our house!  I set off to where the rainbow came down, visions of a pot of gold running through my head.

But something strange happened.  As I approached the end of the rainbow, it seemed to move.  So I went a little further.  The rainbow moved again. Then it disappeared.  I searched the ground and found no trace of a pot of gold.  I was pretty disappointed.  My older sisters laughed at me.  They did not tell me about rainbows scientifically, explaining the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light in rainfall. They simply told me that everyone knows that it’s impossible to find the end of the rainbow, that’s why we all don’t have pots of gold.  They made me feel pretty dumb.

The elusiveness of the rainbow’s end is kind of like how I feel in trying to get a handle on this topic—“What Do We Believe About the Holy Spirit?”  This belief is difficult to pin down.  What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?  The quick answer is that the Holy Spirit is one-third of the Trinity.  After that, though, we need to do some thinking. Continue reading “Convictions About the Holy Spirit 1996/2011 (1)”