I must admit, I am not very comfortable with spirits. God the Father, God the Sonâ€”these are concrete realities that show up on mountaintops, write on stone tablets, and die on wooden crosses. But the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Wisdom? I have a hard time understanding.
Thankfully I donâ€™t have to understandâ€”the Spirit itself brings that. As Jesus says in the Gospel reading, the Spirit â€świll guide you in all truth.â€ť But as he goes on to say, this truth is not a truth that the Spirit has on its ownâ€”it is a truth that comes from the Father and the Sonâ€”it is a truth held in the consensus and community of the Trinity that we worship.
I find it striking that in all three of our readings for this Sundayâ€”Proverbs, Romans, Johnâ€”the Spirit comes to a community. In Proverbs the Spirit of Wisdom cries out â€śTo you, o people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.â€ť In Romans, Paul speaks of faith by which â€śwe are justifiedâ€ť and speaks of the love of God having been â€śpoured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.â€ť
In the same way Jesus speaks to the disciples about the coming of the spirit using the plural you.
The Spirit is then something that we donâ€™t know on our ownâ€”the Spirit is a member of the Trinitarian community that joins with us as the community of the church.
In this way the spirit is saved from the abstraction that can come with that word. I am not lost in a â€śspirituality,â€ť a choose-your-own-adventure religion that speaks to the personality of my individual heart. With a Holy Spiritâ€”a spirit that is set apart and sets us apartâ€”I am required to under go the baptism of the Church before anything else. Only then can I join with Paul in welcoming the â€śSpirit that has been given to us.â€ť