Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thinking and Believing

How we think about something and what we believe about it are sometimes disparate things. Which, to me, is odd. But I occasionally in my spiritual life will have a moment of semi-clarity where I see this bold disconnect between my understanding of something theological and my belief/action concerning that same principle.

The prayer to the Holy Spirit I posted on Sunday

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

created one of those moments in me.

I think correctly about the Holy Spirit (I think). But this prayer made me realize that even though my view of the Trinity has broadened in the past year, that my understanding is still impoverished in many ways. And perhaps this has to do partly with the general incomprehensibility of the concept of the Trinity. Perhaps it is partly due to my upbringing (Thou shalt pray only to the Father ...). But sometimes I wonder how much of a practical Jehovah's Witness I am. Not fully comprehending or living as if God indwells His Church, that God - the Heavenly King - temples within me.

This is me thinking out loud, and it probably makes little sense to anyone else. I am not thinking of abandoning the Holy Trinity, only thinking that my heart may have inadvertently abandoned Him long ago. I'm not sure what I'm saying at the moment, except that I want to live the experience of the Holy Trinity more than simply know the concept in any theological sense - even if it's an understanding of the idea's unknowability. I want thought to concretize in my heart and in my life, in word and deed.

O Heavenly King ... come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.


truevyne said...

Dear Scott,
The Holy Spirit is something very illusive yet beautiful. I think she or he (do you mind me assigning gender?) is overlooked, because we can't explain her like we think we can the person of God or Jesus. Humans aren't necessarily comfortable with mystery, and she seems to be the most mysterious of all. She gave me the gift of worship, especially dance, which has create great intimacy between us. Plus, as you can tell, I think she just might be a girl.

Deep Furrows said...

Thank you for this post, Scott.

I want thought to concretize in my heart and in my life, in word and deed.
This is my desire and prayer also. It's not enough to know about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I need to encounter them in my circumstances. And I'll know that I'm growing as a Christian as long as this need and prayer continues to happen.


onionboy said...

Hey Scott

My understanding of the Holy Spirit has increased not decreased from my days as a Pentecostal minister, which is ironic? I believe He, do you mind if I call him and he? ... I would have to think that with the Father revealing himself in a primarily male way and with his son being male that the his Spirit is also male though when it comes right down to it we know God is spirit utterly and must be worshiped in spirit and in truth but he does refer to himself almost exclusively throughout sacred scripture as male ;-)...I believe he is so much more than I even knew him to be when I only understood him as the dispenser of nifty gifts.

One of the helps was a well known icon of the Holy Trinity that I found in a wonderful book on contemplation with icons by Henri Nouwen: Behold the Beauty of the Lord; Praying with Icons.

paul said...

Beautifully put, Scott.

Reminds me of the Miguel de Cervantes quote (Oh childhood!) from Man of La Mancha:

"Facts are the enemy of truth."

Clearly, knowing some-thing is a very different thing than knowing some-one, for instance the someone who calls himself the Truth.

The more I know, the more I conclude that I know Him so little.

Scott Lyons said...

True, God is so transcendent, but so near. And sometimes when I think about the persons of the Trinity it is difficult for me to retain the One-ness of God in my head. It's all rather mind-blowing. God is the great mystery - we stretch out our arms to embrace Him as we can, realizing that our finite arms might as soon embrace the ocean.

Fred, you're welcome, and, as I said, I'm still struggling through this idea. But this is who we are, isn't it? We struggle, we pray, we seek to love and serve God and one another.

Owen, I've discovered Him more truly in the Church as well. And, I hope, still growing in that discovery.

Paul, it's so true. It's clearly seeing one's life and relationship and, well, Aslan just gets bigger and bigger the older I get.