When we were in our twenties, my wife and I volunteered to help organize a youth retreat for about 100 kids from different churches. As part of the retreat, we arranged break-out sessions on a half-dozen topics that are pretty normal for youth retreats. I don’t remember most of them, but they were probably the normal list for the early 90s: Sex, violence in the media, how to keep your faith in college, etc. But we decided to offer another one on a “very controversial” subject: the Holy Spirit.
We had no problem lining up great leaders for all the break-outs except for the one on the Holy Spirit. As I recall, as I recruited people, they were quick to say they would be happy to help out with any of them except that one – saying they just didn’t know much about the Holy Spirit. Finally, I asked a pastor named Steve Rhodes, expecting him to politely decline. But Steve said, “Sure, I’d love to!” And I went to his seminar and he did a great job. It wasn’t spooky, scary, crazy, unreasonable, or illogical. The conversation flowed naturally. After the class, I wondered why it was so hard to find someone to lead a seminar like that. But the experience as a whole left me wondering — and I wonder still why so many good Presbyterian folks are slow to talk about the Holy Spirit.
What about you?
Every Sunday in May we’ll be talking about the Holy Spirit at Geneva. One of my hopes as a pastor is that the Presbyterians at Geneva have no trouble talking about the Spirit of God! A bigger hope is that we will be filled with the love, joy, and power of the Spirit in such a way that our homes, neighborhoods and community will be deeply blessed!