Reverend Steven Manskar, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, responds:
“The symbol of Nicaea tells us that the Holy Spirit is ‘the Lord, who gives life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.’ The Holy Spirit is God in us as Jesus Christ is God with us.
“We see the Holy Spirit active in creation. “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind of God swept across the face of the waters. The Spirit was that “wind of God” participating in the creative and life-giving work of God. The Spirit inspired and led Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, David, the prophets, Mary, Jesus and the apostles.
“The Holy Spirit is God working in human lives, seeking to awaken them to the love and righteousness of God. When they wake up, people become aware of their sin. The Holy Spirit brings the gift of faith, which is trust in God who has become one of us in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Spirit reveals God’s forgiveness and helps us accept this forgiveness for ourselves. Once forgiveness is accepted, the Spirit begins the work of repairing the damage sin has done to the image of God in the human heart. The Spirit, by faith, guides and inspires us to cooperate in this work of healing. The fruit of this work of restoration in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, meekness and self-control (Galatians 5: 22-23).
Reverend Ray Lanning, retired pastor of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of North America, responds:
“Reformed Christians believe that the Holy Spirit ‘is true God and co-eternal with the Father and the Son’ (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 53). As a true son of the covenant, Christ affirms that there is only one true and living God: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29) . But Christ also teaches that in the Godhead there are three distinct persons, the same in essence, power, glory, and all other divine perfections, such as wisdom, love, righteousness, and truth. This is why Christ commands, for example, that Christians be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
“All Christians confess that the Holy Spirit is ‘the Lord and the giver of life.’ In the scriptures we see the Holy Spirit using His sovereign power to bring about all things and to give life to all living things (Genesis 1: 2, Psalm 104: 30). As a result, Christ, as the incarnate Son of God, was “conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary” (Matthew 1:20). Sacred Scripture itself is the product of the work of the Spirit: “The holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (I Peter 1:21).
“When the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit uses it to work the faith in our hearts. He enlightens our minds, renews our hearts, and inclines our wills to embrace Christ as Savior and Lord. As our sanctifier, the Spirit dwells in us, abides with us, and applies to us all that we have in Christ and the benefits of his death and resurrection. The Spirit gives us life, light and understanding, love and all its fruits, and makes us walk the path that leads to eternal life.
Fred Stella, the Pracharak (Minister of Outreach) at the West Michigan Hindu Temple, responds:
“In the 19th century, when Hindu scholars began to examine Christian texts, some resonated with the idea of the Holy Spirit (or ghost). Hindus would not say that there are 3 people in one God, but say that there are 3 aspects. There is this “part” of God that exists transcendentally, in a “region” without vibration. However, God also exists as this vibrant universe. The last aspect would be the one that bridges these aspects. Many Westerners have heard of Hindus (and Buddhists) chanting “OM”. This sacred syllable is considered to be that “part” of God which more or less connects the transcendent with the imminent. Through deep meditation it is taught that one will hear this sacred presence within.
Reverend Colleen Squires, minister of All Souls Community Church of West Michigan, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, responds:
“A good number of Unitarian Universalists believe in an understanding of God or a higher power, and some UUs identify themselves as Christian UUs or disciples of Jesus, but I don’t know of any UUs that specifically follow the Holy. Spirit with regard to the Trinity. That being said, we generally use phrases such as “the great mystery of life”, or “the spirit of life” or “the spirit of love” to describe times of wonder and wonder or as expressions of joy and kindness found in our shared humanity. “
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