I love talking to the confirmation classes about the Holy Spirit, because ultimately one of them will say “it sounds like a ghost.” And then I tell them that the church I grew up in called it the Holy Ghost. And then we spend a few, well more than a few, moments discussing God’s wisdom of sending a “spirit” to be a comforter. But what we begin to realize, together, that it takes a spirit to get into all those little places that ache and need comforting. And we also realize, together, that the Spirit of God reveals itself to us in a variety of ways and in the people that surround us.
This image is of a “leaving” from the Isle of Iona, Scotland. Volunteer staff members leave on Wednesdays, and the tradition is that other volunteers and resident staff members come down to wave you off. It is a hard thing. And you have to repeat it each Wednesday, say good bye to those you have worked with. It takes the Holy Spirit to get you down to the landing. It takes the Holy Spirit to get you to stand with your companions and wave farewell. And it is the Holy Spirit that comforts you, as you walk back to your work, grieving, only to rejoice at the arrival of new friends later that day. It is no small thing, but the Spirit is there.