Dear Joe, (no respect)
I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I don’t mind it myself. You ever hear the saying about “three on a date;” just try it for an eternity and see how it feels. Once, God and Jesus rented a tandem bicycle, I thought it was meant to taunt me, but I smiled. Ever see a restaurant with a table for three? Three soldiers and one match? Three strikes and you’re… So image a third on this eternal wheel.
You Folks Think Only in “Two’s”
God did His thing in seven days and is thought and talked about enough. Jesus did his bit in only three years and even has an acronym for himself, WWJD as though it helps somebody in a bind. Me? Your life is full of twos but rarely is there a third. Right/Wrong, Left/Right, Sin/Grace, Heaven/Hell, Democrat/Republican. And then there’s “number three,” Me. Maybe my name ought to be, “Rarely!”
I like to think of it as God and Jesus have their fixed roles cut out for them and get more credit for it. Me? I’m kinda out there, sometimes pictured as a dove when I’d prefer eagle but who listens to me?
“Offers You that Place of Peace and Contentment”
Me? Well, maybe you do hear me…sometimes. I’m that swirling wind around you when you finally decide to grab a jacket. I’m that gnawing sound that breaks your complacency when you thought everything was neatly, but wrongly settled. I’m that gentle tug on your shoulder right before you go to sleep reminding you about a task or two tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just swirl, gnaw and nudge. I’m also the one who provides and offers you that place of peace and contentment, a place that is unknown to this world. It’s easy for me because after you’ve done your homework of family, work and friends, under my guidance, the place is right there – in front of you, inside of you. It is in this place where everything you thought was unimaginable becomes real.
I know, I sound like a fairy godmother, but I think she’s patterned after me. The same goes for Jiminy Cricket. (Can I sue for copyright infringement?) I can’t be controlled or harnessed because I’m a separate but still equal part of those two on that tandem bicycle. You could say that the two before me laid the necessary foundation and I get to have all the fun running around all of your lives and offering you my seven gifts. When you get home tonight, quiz yourself and see how many of the seven you can name. No fare cheating, no Internet! I’m able to weave in between the handiwork of those other two.
“There ought to be eight gifts from Me”
“Inspire” ought to be my name and the eighth gift but the Church loves the number seven too much. You know, I think “inspire” is included in all my seven gifts. I’m nothing other than God alive and active in the world. If Jesus is how God burst forth into human history, then I’m how God continues to burn in the human heart.
“1962 Was My Idea”
I don’t mean to brag, but 1962 was my idea. That was the year when I coached the pope to “open the windows” of the Church, as he called it. I think they called it “Vatican II.” Just like I do to you folks individually, I’m able to do to an institution when it loses its Way or swerves off course. The Son of God usually gets credit for my work, but sometimes I’m a footnote.
Please don’t tell anyone but I’m really not the last person of the Trinity. I’ve been around as long as the other two, they just sometimes forget. In Genesis, who do you think hovered over the waters at the moment of creation (Genesis 1:2)? Moi. The Psalms sing of me “renewing the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30) I’ve been an active part of Jesus’ life. His conception, I “will come upon you” the angel tells Mary (Luke 1:35). His first words as the teacher, I am “upon him” (Luke 4:18). His final promise, “Receive” me (John 20:22).
“Tongue as of Fire”
Please don’t try this at home but just try placing a small “tongue as of fire” above the heads of followers and missionaries showing them that they’re valuable and worthy to do the work of the three of us? It’s tricky, you got to get the distance between head and flame just right or else…
Instead of “Rarely,” my name ought to be “Anonymous” because you don’t know when I’ll come around to swirl or gnaw or nudge at you to either strengthen or correct your path. And believe me, I can pester and wait a long, long time. You could call me the most patient one of the Trinity. My only task is to help and guide you to be the person that God created and Jesus showed you to be.
If and when you find your peaceful place, you may mention my name but more than likely, you’ll talk to your family and friends about the other two. Really, I don’t mind.
Fluid is me, and I like it that way. You can’t hold me, but you can be held by me. You can’t touch me, but you can feel me – at any time. I can be experienced but never contained.
So, that’s a little something about me. What’s the upside of all this with the three of us? When the restaurant bill arrives, it’s the other two who need to leave the tip!
See you around.
Love, The Holy Spirit