Right now, just ten days from Christmas in this year of our Covid, 2020, my church, St. John’s Episcopal in Boulder, Colorado, is doing a weekly Bible Study on the Acts of the Apostles. About 20 of us Zoom in each Wednesday morning while a clergy or lay leader facilitates a 75-minute discussion on the two chapters assigned for the week in question. This Wednesday is the last session before the Holidays. We’ll finish up sometime in January.
One thing in particular has struck me thus far. The book, usually considered written by the same person who wrote the Gospel of Luke, might have better been called the “Acts of Holy Spirit.” For those of you not familiar with the Christian concept of the Trinitarian God, the three persons—all “He’s” of course—are God the Father (i.e., Jehovah), God the Son (i.e., Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Holy Spirit—no appropriate “J” name could be found!). In Christian theology, Jesus promises his disciples, whom he has commissioned to take his message after his death into all the world, that he would send this same Holy Spirit to be with them, guide and empower them, when he could no longer be around to do so himself. So, for those Christians who talk about being born again, what they mean is that an individual who has accepted Jesus as their personal savior is reborn with this same Divine Spirit to guide and empower them just as It (He) had the first generation of Jesus’s followers.
Although a devout Christian, I believe that the Creator of all and everything does not discriminate among different groups of human beings. As the African American sayings go, God don’t make no junk, and all God’s chillen got wings. So, my sense is that every human being by virtue of having been born is endowed with this Spirit. The quality of that endowment may differ from person to person, and just like the endowment of a school or college, it can be increased by careful stewardship (the usual term is “work on oneself”) or frittered away by careless living. I have referred to this Spirit Guide within each of us as our B & B, or Biggest and Best, Self. We can make all the important decisions in our life based on our everyday thinking or our strongest desires of the moment, or we can learn to recognize and follow the still, small voice within, the voice of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul in his missionary work as described in the Book of Acts goes here, there, and everywhere, never, it seems, in a straight line. He didn’t use a travel agent “out there” but one “in here.” In doing so he laid the foundation for the world’s largest, most populous religion. As the Christian world walks its way this year to Christmas, my question to myself and you, dear reader, is thus Who is our travel agent?