What does the Holy Spirit do?

If you visited the prayer room, especially when it was in UJ, you will hopefully have been aware of a couple of the images the Bible gives of the Holy Spirit. Images that give us clues about who he is and how he does what he does.

Dove is one of them. What’s most telling about this one is that it’s how the Spirit looked as he settled on Jesus as Jesus stood up out of the river when his cousin John baptised him. Hold that thought for a minute.

Fire is another. Loads of tealights were the best we could do at UJ. Not quite so safe at Greystones. Why is fire an image of what the Spirit does? Fire is the most powerful way to get rid of rubbish there is. All of us have times when we know there are piles of gunk in our hearts, too much for us to cope with. Nothing for it but to ask the Spirit to burn it up and make space in our heads and hearts for the only thing that counts. In Malachi 3:2,3 it talks about God being a refiner, burning away the useless stuff until pure gold is all that’s left.

Adam, Shannen and I tried hard to make the big banner billow in the breeze at UJ but even with 2 small fan heaters and the window open, it just wafted a bit. “Wind in my sail” not! Breath, yes. And breath was what I seemed to need at Greystones. To take big gulps of air and breathe in the life of the Spirit. If you want to bless people, pray with people, maybe it’s vital to breathe in the breath of God first. Then you have something to breathe out. This is not a once-off breath. Try breathing once a month and see how long you last.

This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your holy presence,
Living in me.

– Michael W Smith

Back to the dove. Can you think of anything more gentle or more vulnerable? Simple, stunning beauty. For all of us there’ll be times when the Spirit of Jesus comes to us like a dove. Not to work in us, not to give us his power or wisdom or words. But to be our comforter and to shelter us under his wings. (E.g. 1 Peter 4:14)

Whichever way you most need him at the moment, be sure to ask him! He’s a gift to us from the Father of us all.

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