Is the Holy Spirit a person or wind or fire or what?

Tonight we continued our exploration of the Apostle’s Creed. We explored the idea of The Holy Spirit. This week kids had an opportunity to learn what the Holy Spirit is and what it does. As we explore what the Holy Spirit looks, feels, smells and tastes like, we ask ourselves a difficult question:

Is the Holy Spirit a person or wind or fire or what?

From the beginning of the Bible, God’s Spirit (ruach in Hebrew) is present, hovering over the face of the primordial waters. In the Christian Scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit (pneuma in Greek) that gives Jesus his powers to heal. And, ultimately, it is the Spirit that Jesus promises and then delivers to the early church after his resurrection.

So the Holy Spirit – also known as the third person of the Trinity – is present throughout the Biblical narrative, and throughout history. In fact, that is the best way to understand the Holy Spirit, as God’s presence (shekinah in Hebrew) in history and in our world today.

The Biblical writers used various metaphors to describe God’s Spirit, including wind, fire, breath, and water – each an attempt to give us some sense of what is ultimately a mystery. It is notable that several of the Biblical words for the Holy Spirit are femanine.

This week we began by thinking of some different things we think are done by the Holy Spirit. Then as we turned to scripture we read passages from both the Old and New Testaments and used them as references to explore what it means to balance our own independence with the need to follow the advice of those around us. Then as small groups we found ways we know other things are present in the world even though we can’t see them, like wind.

This week’s Take Home Assignment is to write three “Holy Spirit Postcards” to members of their small group, family, church, school, or friends. In these postcards students will share how they see the Holy Spirit at work in the recipients.

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