Catching Glimpses
John 15:26,27; 16:4b-15

In today’s readings there are several glimpses of the Spirit and what he does or how he was and is experienced by us mere mortals. But they are still just glimpses, like we’ve just driven past at 100km/h and caught a passing glance out of the car window as we’ve rushed by.

So in considering that, have you ever seen the Holy Spirit, have you noticed him in a crowd, seen him on a train or in a church pew, have you ever felt his presence or thought you’ve heard his voice.  We only ever really catch small glimpses of the Spirit don’t we?  Why do you think that is?

We read in John 16 verse twelve, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.”  Do you think God holds back a bit because if he gave us too much of the Spirit and understanding of his Word it would be more than we could bear?  Human understanding is very powerful, yet it is limited by comparison to the immense power and strength of God

We don’t truly understand how the world came into existence, many learned scholars are still trying to prove on theory and disprove another, but we know and believe that God created the heavens and the earth and that the Holy Spirit was there as God spoke the world into being.  We saw this portrayed on Friday morning in chapel at Good Shepherd Primary School, what a lovely job 3CS did as they walked us through several appearances of the Holy Spirit throughout history.  I particularly liked the way the Holy Spirit was depicted by the dancers carrying red and yellow sheer fabric as they danced around as the world was created.

Then the Spirit was there again as Moses received the Ten Commandments from God and in the form of a dove descending on Jesus at his baptism in the river Jordan and finally as the Spirit moved down among the children and stayed there.

In today’s readings we catch even more glimpses.  In our opening reading from Acts there is the blowing of a violent wind, rushing in and filling the house where the disciples were sitting.  Then tongues of fire separated and came to rest on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  These people heard and saw evidence of the Holy Spirit there among them.

But as the people heard them they were amazed and confused as they heard their own language being spoken by these Galileans!  Some thought they were drunk but this was a glimpse of the Holy Spirit at work.

Then in Romans 8 we heard Paul speak of those who have the first fruits of the Spirit groaning inwardly.  The Spirit is described as a helper in our weakness because when we don’t know what we should pray for the Spirit does it for us through wordless groans and not only does he intercede for us, but does so for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And the first fruits of the Spirit also give us a glimpse of the nature of the Holy Spirit, he manifests himself through us as he helps us to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The Spirit gives us the strength and ability to live out all of these things.

And finally in our Gospel we hear the Spirit described as the Advocate, the one who will come and give testimony about Jesus, who he was and what he has done.

As Jesus was preparing the disciples for a time when he would no longer be with them as teacher and friend.  He would no longer be available for them to ask their questions of or to call on him for answers to baffling problems.  It is time for Jesus to leave and send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to teach them about the world’s wrongful teachings and about what sin is and what it isn’t.  The Spirit is the new teacher, through the Word of God that has been handed down to us.

We call the Bible divinely inspired, in other words, the Holy Spirit gave to the writers of the scriptures everything that they needed to tell the truth about Jesus and his saving grace for us.  And as we heard earlier he has only given us as much as our human minds could possibly bear.  He was to tell us what is yet to come and give to us all that the Father has given him to share with us.

Again these are just glimpses of the Spirit, who he is, what he did and what he continues to do.  We need the Spirit to guide us through God’s word, lead us in prayer, praise and thanksgiving, call us to worship and intercede for us when we have nothing left to give or have no clue as to what to say the Spirit even helps us with the groaning.

As we celebrate Pentecost again today, reflect on the symbolism, the colours and the words of God given to us. Reflect on the small glimpses we are given, just enough for us to cope with.  Yes we are sometimes frustrated because we want more, but God knows our every need and knows our hearts and minds, he created us and blessed us, trust in him and all his goodness.

I pray that over the coming days and weeks you will catch glimpses of the Spirit at work in and for you.