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As the renowned scholar Thomas Oden noted, "No subject of Christian teaching is more prone to fanaticism and novelty and subjectivism than that of the Holy Spirit." The Bible's own metaphors for the Spirit are as elusive as they are evocative—wind, oil, flame, water, dove—making pneumatology a mysterious study. But shying away from the topic is no solution.
Gordon Smith encourages us to seek both fresh understanding and fresh experience of the Spirit through openness to learning more, no matter what our theological tradition. In this way, as we hold biblical convictions firmly but gracefully, the guiding principles of discernment and humility will help us intentionally live Spirit-responsive lives day by day.
Welcome, Holy Spirit is a much-needed master class with a trustworthy and encouraging teacher. How can we cultivate an understanding of the Holy Spirit that helps us experience the presence of the Spirit in worship, in witness, in joy and sorrow, in seasons of blessing and times of difficulty alike, all the while honoring the fullness of the Trinity? An attentiveness to the Spirit need not replace Christ as the focus of our lives and worship but can rather bring us truly into the presence of the living and ascended Lord.
It is to this end that we pray, "Welcome, Holy Spirit."