Joining the Dance:
The Active Presence of the Holy Spirit, Week 5

by Andrea Lingle

How, then, shall we live?

For me this is the central question of all theology. If we spend ten breaths talking about what the Spirit of God is, we should spend ten hundred talking about how that understanding should shape our behavior and ten thousand walking, along with Christ, doing whatever it is that our theology calls forth from us.

Truly, how, then, shall we live?

The Holy Spirit is like the breath.

The Holy Spirit is like the womb.

The Holy Spirit is in the swirl of the Trinity's dance.

So, we have landed here in a space created by metaphor and words. Now we must wonder how to move forward into the space we have created.

With a kite full of wind, clinging to a string.

With our eyes wide open in the dark.

With our hand stretched out to the Divine dance partner, wondering which foot goes first.

Discussing the Spirit is a like trying to paint a river. You can ask questions, but to answer them leaves you bewildered. Any words we come up with will be rough sketches made of similes and analogies. But there can be knowing without knowledge. Knowing the Spirit comes from the place of laughter* not words. It comes from the heart, not the head. And when we act as the Body of Christ we become the incarnation of that knowing.

And that is why the incarnation is so powerful.

When we speak of the Spirit, we can get lost, but when we see the life of Jesus, the incarnate Christ, and place our human feet in his human footsteps we can begin to dance. We can follow Jesus into the wilderness where we are stretched and scorched by the rigors of life. There we learn that the Spirit is an advocate. We can follow Jesus into Samaria and talk to those who embody the other. There we learn that the Spirit is an ambassador. We can follow Jesus into the garden where we rage and plead in prayer. There we learn that the Spirit is a voice. When we follow Jesus into the life of the Spirit, we discover how it is we are to live.

The concept of the Trinity is much more than a bit of Christian theological trivia. The incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection all take on new meaning when seen through the lens of the Trinity. In fact, it may be the most important single concept to appreciate in Christianity. The understanding that community—three together as one—is essential to the nature of God informs and enlightens practically every aspect of being a Christian person.

God loves us because it is the very nature of God to love.

God wants us to love God because it is the very nature of God to love.

God wants us to love each other because it is the very nature of God to love.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • How shall we live, indeed.

Partially excerpted from, Larry Duggins, Together, (Portland, OR: Cascade, 2017). 

* I co–opted the “place of laughter” idea from Patrick Rothfuss’s book, The Wise Man’s Fear. Although it is a work of fiction not meant to reflect spiritual truth, I have found several in his books—some analogous, some outright, all unintentional.