Yesterday was Pentecost, commemorating the gift of the Holy Spirit. I think part of the religious problem today is that when people imagine God, they picture the Deist god, an entity above and beyond this world, who looks down on it all from afar. But the Christian God is very near to us. He is the one in whom we live and move and have our being. He became incarnate–a tangible human being– in Jesus Christ, who took into Himself the world’s evil and its suffering. Then He ascended back into the Trinity, but He promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age. And so He is really present–bodily–in the sacrament of Holy Communion. He has also sent us the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to be our helper, our comforter, and the giver of life, bringing us to faith through God’s Word and preserving us in that faith, indwelling us so that we are nothing less than Temples of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, faith is not merely the acceptance of God’s existence, as if He were merely another fact in the universe, which is again something like the Deists and their followers thought of Him. Rather, faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, something those of us who have it can hardly help. It was formed in us by the Holy Spirit working through Baptism and our hearing and reading and being impacted by God’s Word. So have a happy Pentecost, the season that lasts for the rest of the church year, and revel in God’s nearness.