I believe in the Holy Ghost
In some parts of Africa, the boys are very fond of riding on dead tree trunks which sometimes float down the river. One day a boy got on one of these tree trunks for a ride but as he was going nicely along something very strange happened. The tree trunk began to wake up, and when he saw a huge mouth, full of teeth, opening in front of him he realised that all the time he had been sitting, not on a dead piece of wood as he had thought, but on a very alive crocodile. As you can imagine he didn’t stay on it long, and after that he was rather more careful in his choice of craft!
The Giver of Life
In somewhat the same way, when we go for a walk in the fields or the park, we often forget that the grass we tread on, although it cannot bite us like the crocodile, is alive for all that. In fact, in the countryside most of the things we can see are alive: plants and hedges as well as animals and birds and insects.
All of this life comes from God. We can kill, but we cannot make alive. Only God is the Giver of Life. The Jews learnt that it was the Life or Spirit of God which makes things live. So the writer of one of the Psalms, when he was thinking of the young animals and birds in the spring, and the countryside made new and fresh after the winter, said “When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground” (NRSV, 104:30) (cf Genesis 2:7).
Giver of Light
Not only, however, did the Spirit of God give life to Nature, it also taught people, and especially the prophets, the truth about God. We often think of ignorance as darkness and the knowledge of the truth as light. To keep a person in the dark means to keep him or her in ignorance of the truth; to bring something to light means to make it known. So at a time when the minds of the Jews were darkened with pagan and wrong ideas about God, it was the Spirit of God which gave the light of the truth to the prophets and they taught it to the people. Thus one of the prophets said, “…I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord” (NRSV, Micah 3:8).