20th May 2018

Our vision of the Spirit

Acts 2 :1-21

How do we think about the Holy Spirit?  The Bible speaks of the Spirit in different ways and this is reflected in hymns and songs, though they can be a bit selective.


‘Spirit of God, unseen as the wind.

Gentle as is the dove.’


These words, sung to the gentle tune ‘Skye boat song’, gives a very soft impression.  It takes up Elijah’s experience of God (I Kings 9) as not in the wind, earthquake or fire but in a ‘still, small voice’.  This is both comforting and comfortable.

The song which begins ‘Purify my heart’, goes on to address the Spirit as ‘Refiner’s fire’.  The image here draws on the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in flames of fire (Acts 1).  This song sees the Spirit as purifying our lives like the fire used in the process of refining metal which burns away all the dross to leave just precious metal.  This is a much more vigorous vision of the Spirit’s work, and certainly more uncomfortable


How do we think about the Holy Spirit?  Gentle dove or refining fire?


How do we need to experience Him today?