Kossowski, Adam. Veni Sancti Spiritus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56946 [retrieved June 14, 2022]. Original source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/8750321716 – Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.

RCL Year C Pentecost
Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-35 and 37, Romans 8:14-17, Saint John 14:8-17

The Bible, the Holy Scriptures, contain many words attributed to Our Lord Jesus Christ. And, the Bible contains many words attributed to God the Father. But I know of no words in the Scriptures attributed to the Holy Spirit. Unless all the words in the Scriptures were given to us by the Holy Spirit.

I have put this to you this way to overcome, if possible, the usual Episcopal reticence to speak about and to rely upon the Holy Spirit. Many of us are very comfortable talking about God the Father, and even a few of us are comfortable talking about Jesus. We hear him so often in the Gospel that we may think of him as a Friend. He is our friend, and so is God the Father. But we are less aware of the Holy Spirit; certainly we are less comfortable talking about the Holy Spirit. We are even less comfortable in appropriating the gift of the Spirit. We may think we are on the verge of speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, as some Pentecostals put it, or we may think someone will suggest to us that we take up serpents as an act of worship or as an act of confidence in the Holy Spirit.

Today, on the Sunday before Trinity Sunday, I want to suggest to you that as an act of meditation, of discipline, of exercising your will freely, that you even out your approach to the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. This would mean giving the Holy Spirit as much time, thought, and prayer as you give to God the Father and to Jesus Christ. No harm will come of this.

In our Prayer Book, we are taught that the Holy Spirit is “at work in the world and in the Church even now”; that the Spirit is revealed in the Old Testament “as the giver of life, the One who spoke through the prophets”; “the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow into the likeness of Christ.”[1] We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit “when we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.”[2] That’s quite a lot, to be sure. I have heard it said that we cannot know anything unless we know it by the Spirit. If true, that would mean that the Holy Spirit is as active with people who are not Christian as the Spirit is with believers and with the Church. I cannot think of a reason why that should not be so.

In a recent conversation with the Confirmands, I found myself telling them that whenever they find something to be true, they are in the presence of God. Any time they discover the truth, they are in the presence of God. And if they are in the presence of God, they were guided there by the Holy Spirit. And so, it is best to keep your eyes open and to give thanks to God always and everywhere.


[1] BCP, page 852.

[2] Ibid.