Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV)
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
When I was a student at Luther Seminary, systematic theology professor Dr. Paul Sponheim assigned a term paper for which we could choose to write on the Father, on Jesus, or on the Holy Spirit. Most students selected Jesus. A couple classmates decided on God the Father. I was the only one who selected the Holy Spirit, and I soon found out why. As my high school classmate, Terry Boehlke, the bookstore manager, advised, I had picked the hardest topic for a Christocentric Lutheran seminary. He suggested I find a book on the Spirit in the library: Rudolph Otto’s The Idea of the Holy became a rich source for my paper.
Starting with fear of empty pages, I ended up embracing the Holy Spirit as a good choice in relating the Trinity to daily life—a risky choice, but one that proved powerful in the parishes I later served. “When we want to run toward and yet back up in awe,” explains Rudolph Otto, “we can be fairly sure we have experienced the Holy.”
Spirit God, bring us to understand that Christ’s love and story continue through the Holy Spirit working in us. Bless us in these experiences to move us closer to your message of love. In the Spirit’s presence we pray. Amen.