We think of ourselves as separate, distinct individuals, but on the level of spirit we merge and separate; we interpenetrate one another, we drift apart. Boundaries are not hard and fast. Even football teams know the importance of bonding. Love, admiration, gratitude, sense of identity all draw us together while suspicion, resentment, indifference, guilt and lack of trust drive us apart. We talk about having feelings of belonging, of fellowship and communion, yet we also know estrangement, alienation, rejection and loneliness. So, we meet up with this same fluidity of spirit when we read, in John’s Gospel, sayings like, “The Father and I are one”, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them, and we will make our home with them”, “The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I have said to you”, “Abide in me as I abide in you”. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not three distinct individualities or gods; they indwell one another. What is more, they may dwell in us. There are occasions when we feel at one with the universe, when we sense something of the divine in each person, even in each part of creation. Enthralled by beauty, challenged by goodness, in awe at the dimensions and intricacy of creation, our spirits are set alight with the Spirit of God. Our spirits unite with the Spirit of Christ when we love him and live the way he tells us to. When we know that deep, abiding peace which only Christ can give it is by the intimate presence of the Holy Spirit within our own spirits. So, when we see compassion, generosity, kindness, we see, not just the greatness of the human spirit, but we see the Spirit of God’s love indwelling and prompting the human heart.
- Which of the following words refer to life on the level of spirit: kindness, kidneys; abscess, absence; dopamine, desire?
- Give examples of love, admiration, gratitude or sense of identity drawing people together.
- What difference does it make to realize that God – Creator, Christ and Companion – seeks to dwell within us and be not just a distant figure to be worshipped and obeyed?
- What part of John 14: 23-29 speaks most forcefully to you?