River of Life

There is the River that continues to flow,
From the Mount above to valleys below,
And yet with no beginning, never ending,
While the Breath ever blows o’er its face,
Gently and softly in rhyme with the River
In time but eternal with a maternal Love
That hovers just o’er the waters running
Thru countless lives with enlivening Life
Not rife with pain but only full with gain
And pregnant with Promise calling to all
To come and freely drink and sink below
The surface in cleansing surety of purity
. . .
This is the River of Life


And the Spirit Moves

When the first winds swept the earth, before the birth of humanity,
Before the Great Calamity, she moved across land and ocean deep
With all of its hidden keeps, bidden by her love to breathe out life,
Spirit divine, shining brightly, creating the world as an holy shrine,
Sign of desire, and never to resign from her beautiful, sacred work;
Twas when the earth was young and mirth hung heavily in the air,
And all to prepare a paradisiacal home for the epitome of creation;
And there’s been no cessation of motivation of the same holy Spirit
Since time began as she still flies across the earth, place of our birth,
Breathing life into lifeless souls, filling the holes of hearts torn apart,
Shining more brightly than the light of the sun for those who can see
Through the cross-cleansed lens of faith and have been made friends
Of the Spirit rather than many dead men walking in need and greed,
And acrimony, rancor, enmity and stony hearts as phony creatures
Though they feature themselves as wise teachers ‘n even preachers;
Ah! But the Spirit still sweeps o’er this world and never does sleep
But moves across the land and oceans deep with their secret keeps

Take Me to the River Ahava

Take me down to the River Ahava where Love flows
From the Fount of Grace and the sacred wind blows
And let me wash all filth away so that my body glows
And my true spirit shows forth in refreshing purity
As all insecurity is bathed away in brightest of days
And new ways of thought meander through my mind
That the clear waters unbind to find fresh serenity
In plenty in the cleansing rushing of the River Ahava
And I will drink my fill of love as the Dove flies above
And I will never be the same as my shame slips away
. . .
Ah yes, take me to the River Ahava where Love flows
From the Fount of Grace and the sacred wind blows

Note: In Hebrew the word (or name) ‘Ahava’ means ‘love,’ although it was also apparently the name of both a city and river in ancient Babylon to which the prophet Ezra gathered many people, including the Levites, for three days of prayer and fasting before venturing back to Jerusalem. (You can read about this in the eighth chapter of the Book of Ezra.)

Journey Beyond

We fly high in numinous sky
Far beyond sun, moon, stars
And leave this world behind
As I cleave to you ever true
As we climb higher
And a wind chimes
But we never do seem to tire
And I can feel your inner fire
So warm swarming my soul
In this our own holy journey
If but for some brief moment
To be treasured with pleasure
. . .
We fly high in numinous sky
And leave this world behind
As I cleave to you ever true
Falling in your emerald eyes


Rushing like a mighty wind bending trees of men,
Filling lungs with the power of heavenly tongues
In flames of fire devouring every earthly care,
Flowering the soul in all that’s fair and right
And bright and true for an whole new worldview,
As statues crumble and tumble hard to the ground
Without sound; what was lost has now been found;
And the Wind blows where She will…
And where She will … to fill us anew


Spirit of Light, Life, Love and Truth

Blooming_FlowerIn the beginning … there was the Spirit. Not quite the opening words of the Book of Beginnings we commonly refer to as Genesis; nevertheless, this is what we are told in the second verse of chapter one. “And the Spirit of God[1] was hovering,” or brooding,[2] “over the face of the waters.”[3] One may note that God is first mentioned, but in the Christian schema of understanding, God refers to the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever one God – although it has been common to specifically associate references to God with the Father. Though, as I have stated before, I am not an expert theologian (or Bible scholar), I will say here that I don’t know that this exclusive association is warranted; after all, we read in the first chapter of the Gospel of St. John that the Word, directly associated with Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, was both “in the beginning” and fully divine. Obviously, the language used is picked up directly from Genesis, so St. John the Beloved associates the Second Person of the Holy Trinity with the God mentioned in the first verse in Genesis. He did not, however, deny the identity of that same God as the Father God of Israel.[4]

In the beginning, then, we have recorded in Genesis reference to the Holy Trinity, according to Christian understanding and interpretation, then direct reference to one Person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is specified at the very outset, then, and this is an important point to realize as all-too-often, especially in the Western Church, the third Person of the Holy Trinity has been obscured or relegated to a position of almost impersonal subservience to the Father and the Son. This is practical blasphemy; it most assuredly is offensive to God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No less than the Lord Jesus himself emphasized the importance of the Spirit of God when he said, “It is the Spirit who makes alive; the flesh profits nothing,”[5] and “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”[6]

The early Church Fathers, especially in the East, understood very well the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. For example, Didymus of Alexandria (313 – 398) taught:

The Holy Spirit renews us in baptism through his godhead, which he shares with the Father and the Son. Finding us in a state of deformity, the Spirit restores our original beauty and fills us with his grace, leaving no room for anything unworthy of our love. The Spirit frees us from sin and death, and changes us from the earthly humans we were, men of dust and ashes, into spiritual humans, sharers in the divine glory, sons and heirs of God the Father who bear a likeness to the Son and are his co-heirs and brothers and sisters, destined to reign with him and to share his glory. In place of earth the Spirit reopens heaven to us and gladly admits us into paradise, giving us even now greater honor than the angels, and by the holy waters of baptism extinguishing the unquenchable fires of hell.[7]

St. Basil the Great (330 – 379) was especially rapturous in praise of the Holy Spirit when he wrote:

The titles given to the Holy Spirit must surely stir the soul of anyone who hears them, and make him realize that they speak of nothing less than the Supreme Being. Is he not called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, the steadfast Spirit, and the guiding Spirit?  But his principal and most personal title is the Holy Spirit…

The Spirit is the source of holiness, a spiritual light, and he offers his own light to every mind to help it in its search for truth. By nature the Spirit is beyond the reach of our mind, but we can know him by his goodness. The power of the Spirit fills the whole universe, but he gives himself only to those who are worthy, acting in each according to the measure of his faith…

The Spirit raises our hearts to heaven, guides the steps of the weak, and brings to perfection those who are making progress. He enlightens those who have been cleansed from every stain of sin and makes them spiritual by communion with himself.[8]

Nevertheless, in Western society for hundreds of years and no less in our culture today, ideas and feelings about the Holy Spirit are oftentimes quite vague and ill-defined, but he (or she) is personal, not simply some force or emanation – not an “it,” in other words – the Spirit is fully divine, and s/he is fundamentally essential in our own redemption, remediation, and intimate communion with God and one another. Without the personal, ongoing, animating work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot possibly live the blessed life of love, joy, peace and fulfillment God intends us to live, not only as individuals, but as the Church – that divinely human community God intended from the beginning, that intimate, sacred fellowship he restored in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

It was the Holy Spirit who conceived the eternally-begotten Son of God in the womb of the most Blessed Virgin Mary,[9] and it was the Spirit who anointed Jesus for ministry.[10] It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tried and tempted by Satan,[11] and it was the Spirit who raised him from the dead on the third day.[12] It is the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised his followers, who now “proves the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment,”[13] and the Spirit who brought to completion the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, not by correcting anything the Lord said, but by expounding what he had already taught.[14] Indeed, it is the Holy Spirit who leads us into an interpersonal union within an “intimate, transforming, personal relationship with the triune God,” in the words of theologian and Bible scholar, Clark Pinnock.[15] It is the Spirit who, far from sacrificing our unique identity as individuals, unites us into the One divinely human community in which we genuinely find our unique individuality, the one Church of which we are individually members one of another.[16]

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, long-time pastor at Westminster Chapel in London, rightly observed:

The low spiritual life of the Church, today or at any time, is largely due to the fact that so many fail to realise the truth concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit.[17]

Touché! And we certainly have reached an all-time low ebb in the life of the Church in our corner of the world. The response to this infirmity – and make no mistake, it is an illness – have been varied and sometimes quite interesting, but hardly ever helpful. A return to balanced, Trinitarian worship is surely the right and necessary first step back to good health in the Church in America. (There are other steps, to be sure, but this must necessarily be the first step.)



[1] For the translation of “rûach” as “Spirit” rather than “wind,” cf. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible for Genesis 1.2. John Wesley aptly points out in his Notes, “The Spirit of God was the first Mover; He moved upon the face of the waters – He moved upon the face of the deep, as the hen gathereth her chicken under her wings, and hovers over them, to warm and cherish them, Mat_23:37 as the eagle stirs up her nest, and fluttereth over her young, (’tis the same word that is here used) Deu_32:11.” Cf. also Johann Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament for same verse.

[2] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, H7362

[3] Gen. 1. 2b ESV

[4] Cf. for example Psalm 68. 5 and 89. 26. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, was quite obviously unique, even divine, but this would never, and never did, set aside the fatherhood of God for the first Christians, especially the believing Jewish community.

[5] John 6. 63a EMTV

[6] Mark 3. 29 NRSV

[7] Didymus of Alexandria, “The Holy Spirit Perfects and Renews Us,” as quoted at www.swordofthespirit.net accessed on May 4, 2015

[8] Basil the Great, “The Work of the Holy Spirit,” as quoted at www.swordofthespirit.net accessed on May 4, 2015

[9] Cf. Luke 1. 15

[10] Cf. Matthew 3. 16; Luke 3. 22; 4. 1, 18-21

[11] Cf. Mark 1. 12; Matthew 4. 1; Luke 4. 1

[12] Cf. John 6. 63; Romans 1. 4; 8. 11; I Timothy 3. 16; Abraham Kuyper, Concise Works of the Holy Spirit, 30-32 passim

[13] John 6. 8 NRSV

[14] Cf. John 16. 13-15; II Timothy 3. 16; Tasker, John, 180; J. Michael Ramsey, NIBC/NT, vol. 4, John, 284

[15] C. Pinnock, Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, 149

[16] Cf. Romans 12. 5

[17] M. Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, vol. 2, God the Holy Spirit, 6