When you walk into a church you – at least I hope you do – should be moved, if not overwhelmed, by the presence of Jesus Christ. He is, or a representation of him is, front and center, making it easy for anyone seeking solace to turn to him.
But the Christian faith is a Trinitarian one. There are three distinct expressions of the Trinity: God, the father; Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost).
During the mass, or service, we are aware that we are giving thanks, petitioning, and acknowledging God, the father. We are aware of Jesus, as our Lord. Our words swirl up to Heaven, letting us breathe out our love and letting us breathe in God’s love.
But the Christian faith if a Trinitarian one. There are three distinct expressions of the Trinity: God, the father; Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost).
The Holy Spirit (or Ghost) is there in the liturgy, to be sure. There is the doxology: Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost), etc. And the Holy Spirit is acknowledged in the creed.
But if someone who had never heard of Christianity walked through the door of your church and asked you about the three essences of God, what would you tell them about the Holy Spirit (or Ghost)?
On the subject of God, the father, you could go on forever, surely. And on the subject of Jesus Christ, words of description and praise would be easily found.
But, then, go on, tell your guest about the Holy Spirit (or Ghost).
The third “person” of the Trinity.
The “one” that is credited with “fathering” Jesus with Mary, the virgin.
Well, there are mentions of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) here and there. The baptism of Jesus. That kind of thing.
But here you are sitting in your church. Where do see the Holy Spirit (or Ghost)? If you wanted to connect with the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) where would you go? What would you do?
There are in some churches images of doves, representing the Holy Spirit (or Ghost). During the season of Pentecost (the season of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost)), the color red represents that third “wing” of God. Or perhaps it might be fun to describe the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) as the second wing of God, with Jesus being the first, two wings on the back of God, the father.
Ah, creating images is fun.
What is the function of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) in the church?
In my visions, the structure of the church is likened to that of a tree: the sturdy, massive trunk is God, the father. The two equal branches of the tree are Jesus and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost).
Jesus represents for us the concepts of purity and innocence. His work is reconciliation: reconciling man to God, and reconciling God to man. Through him, anyone can come into a church or even sit under an elm tree, and repent. Put aside his anger with God. Come to terms with his pain. And through Jesus, this man can be received back into the loving grace of God, the father.
It’s the system that has been put in place for us through the life and death of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit represents strength and power. It’s work in the world is healing.
Do we really believe that the work of the church is limited to that which is done through Christ?
I am passionate about my disbelief in the priesthood of women. One reason has to do with the difference in the structure of the souls between men and women.
But another reason is that, in my book, the work of Jesus is done by men. The work of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) is done by women. Or led by women. The strength and power of the work of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) – to heal the world – can be found in the souls of women.
Just think what it could mean to the world if the church took the mission of healing seriously. Real healing. Massive healing.
Finding the power in prayer and action to accomplish tasks such as healing the ozone layer or discovering a cure for AIDS or finding a means to feed the hungry.
Yes, churches do work on some of these projects. But imagine an organized, powerful focus, work committed to the glory of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost), work that reaches out to the Earth to bring soothing balm to the deep pain she bears.
These days, when I look at the cross on the altar I see something else. I see the sword of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost), sometimes sitting on the altar, but at other times becoming a part of the cross: with the hilt down, the point reaching up to an arm of the cross so that the two fit together.
Most of the time I prefer the reference to the Holy Ghost. There’s something slightly menacing about a ghost. And given that healing has to do with a direct fight with evil, in this case, a little (or a lot) of menacing is a good thing.
In my imagination I’ve designed a T-shirt: black; on the front in white letters, on the left shoulder where logos go, the word, “boo”; on the back, the phrase, “Greetings from the Holy Ghost.”