14 November 2023

Imagining the transcendent spirit


I have been thinking more about the transcendence of the divine that manifests itself as the Holy Spirit. What is it that I felt in my head and heart as I recognized (in my previous post) the one spirit across different Bible narratives? I reflect on the notion of a "wind from God". In the case of Genesis 1 and creation, the wind is not a tropical breeze; it is a mighty wind keeping the void in check. Genesis does not refer to chaos, and indeed, NRSV rarely uses the word, so the wind must be keeping the chaos in check, right? I suppose there is not much to keep in check when there is only a "formless void", but there is "something". NRSV does NOT present creation as occurring ex nihilo (from nothing). When Genesis begins, the wind is already sweeping over the waters.

In any case, my impression of the transcendent spirit is not of a hurricane. I think what I feel is that the divine wind is what it needs to be at any given moment. For creation, it needs to be mighty and controlling. For the conception of Jesus in Luke 1, it needs to be a heavy, overshadowing atmosphere, even to the point of consciousness.

And for me? What is this spirit during a day in the life of me? When I am waking up to get ready for work, maybe a quick gust to jar me into activity. Later, when my lovely wife pulls some chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, it's a warm breeze that connects all the way back to her mother and my mother (who were saints, for sure).

Lord, let the wind blowing us be light and warm when we need comfort, and strong enough to push us to act when we discern a neighbor in need. Immanent and transcendent, now and forever, amen.

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