>What is the role of the Spirit? Of all the subjects in theology about which volumes have been written, the Spirit seems to be neglected the most. A couple of years ago, I was helping with a confirmation retreat. I was using some UM materials in the lessons, but I was also adding some things that I thought to be important along the way. On the section concerning God, I almost had too much to add to the lesson. It was a lot of information at once, especially for sixth and seventh graders. The lesson on Christ was the same way. How do you condense Christology into a thirty minute lesson for sixth and seventh graders? This is still something that I struggle with. But the lesson that I had the hardest time with, more than any other lesson period, was the Holy Spirit. Even with the help of the guide, I couldn’t get more than ten minutes on the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, my friend, mentor and former pastor was able to take over the lesson when he sensed that I was stumbling all over the place. Pneumatology is a weakness, not only in my personal theological development, but in the understanding of the Church as a whole. But what can be learned about the Spirit here?

The Spirit guides us in our weakness. Jesus had so much to teach the disciples. If we only had three years to spend with God, how much could we really learn? I’m in seminary now, closing in on completion of my M.Div., and I feel like I still have a lifetime of learning to accomplish. If Jesus couldn’t teach the disciples everything in three years; check that, if the disciples could not learn everything directly from Jesus in three years, how much more are we lacking in this type of knowledge? The Spirit guides us in knowledge and truth, but no more than we can bear.

The Spirit is closely tied to Jesus and to the Father. The Spirit teaches by taking what is Jesus’ (and consequently the Father’s) and making it known to us. This is so important that John (in the dialogue of Jesus) mentions it twice. This is certainly not by mistake. It is for emphasis. The Spirit is an integral part of the Triune nature of God. He cannot be separated from the Father or the Son. Does this make sense? No, but isn’t that what the whole point of this passage is? We cannot wrap our minds around the nature of the Trinity, especially not by any logic that we have in humanity. Here is one of our weaknesses in which the Spirit guides us. We have to be willing to allow the Spirit to work in our lives, but God is faithful and no doubt will help us to understand these things as we walk closer to Him.

Just some musings from a traveling pilgrim.