Believing is more than the accumulation of information and comprehension of some kind of theological truth. Believing in the biblical sense is trusting, depending fully on God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are not only confident that God is, but we depend upon God and God’s plan and promise.”
Believing is trusting God. This is what we mean when we say the “I believe” in the Apostles’ Creed. I trust God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To say, “I believe in the Holy Ghost, or, the Holy Spirit” is to say that the God who was active in creation and in the life of Jesus Christ continues to live today. The Spirit flows from God, from Christ, in such a way that we are drawn to faith even today. Things impossible for us are made possible through the work of God’s Holy Spirit in and among us.
What do we know about the Holy Spirit? In the Apostles’ Creed, the Spirit is not described. We simply say, “I believe in the Holy Ghost,” and move on to the church, to the saints, to forgiveness of sin. I have heard this section of the creed referred to as the “miscellaneous belief section” with what seems like a random series of faith statements stuck together. It reminds me of the Don Williams song some of you may have heard that runs down a list of beliefs from Mom and Dad to working day and sleeping nights, that wrong is wrong and right is right. Is this part of the creed just a random series of faith statements?
I don’t think so. I think each of the statements of belief that follow flow from the work of the Holy Spirit.
Take the church, for example. Because of Holy Spirit, the church came into existence at Pentecost. Because of the Holy Spirit, we can say we believe in one holy, catholic church. “Catholic” here means universal, one body in Christ. This is both difficult and confusing. With so many denominations and divisions, many things could be said about the church, but if you look around, holy and universal would not be the first two that come to mind. Why do we say we believe in one holy, Catholic Church?
Why? Because of the Holy Spirit. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God continues to set apart a people, to make them holy and to work within the church, the one universal church that none of us can see for the divisions that get in the way. We still say, “I believe in the holy catholic church,” because we know that God’s Spirit is working through us and sometimes in spite of us to bring unity within the church.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit empowers the church to make saints out of sinners. The Rev. Peter Marshall once wrote that Christians are “saints of the rank and file.” We are ordinary folks, not necessarily the cream of the crop, but we are called by God’s grace, and empowered to be God’s people through the Holy Spirit. We are ordinary people, who through the Holy Spirit frees us to live out our faith in new and exciting ways even though we recognize that as human beings, we are bound to make mistakes.
The Holy Spirit is also connected to “the resurrection of the body” and “the life everlasting.” We know that the life of Jesus did not end when they laid him in the tomb. We testify that God’s Spirit remained with him and that in three days, he was raised to life again. The power of this victory over death extends even to us, as God has sent the One promised – the Holy Spirit – and through the Spirit the promises of Christ are made real in our lives.
The Holy Spirit, connects to God of — past, present and future. Thanks to God, through the Holy Spirit, we do not walk this journey alone. The Holy Spirit is our helper, our guide along the way. The Spirit gives us the power to do things we couldn’t do alone, the courage to walk the journey faith when the road is long and bumpy. I believe in the Holy Spirit. Do you?