Unitarians of the third person

I love the Holy Spirit.

I realize that’s not something you hear from a Unitarian Universalist every day. We don’t always talk about God that often, much less the third person of the trinity, the spirit (the three are God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit, in the classic formulation). Originally, our spiritual forebears earned the name “Unitarian” from their belief that there was little or no basis for belief in the divinity of Jesus. In other words, instead of belief in the Trinity, they believed in only a single God, with Jesus being a human who was a great follower of that God.

Many UUs today disavow belief in that God, or in any God for that matter. But I don’t think that means we believe in nothing (I’m staking my life and my call on that bet). If not all of us believe in God these days, and probably even fewer believe in the divinity of Jesus, the Spirit is a different matter entirely. More UUs than ever are staking their faith in the Spirit, even if they don’t always use that name. So, for once, let’s talk about the Spirit, that all-too-often forgotten member of the Trinity. I love the Spirit, and I think most UUs do too, whether they’ve ever thought about it much or not—when we speak of the “Spirit of Life,” I always think of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that it is the Spirit that moves in our communities, our churches, and our lives, urging us toward the good. When James Luther Adams speaks of God as “that reality which works upon us and through us and in accord with which we can achieve truth, beauty, and goodness” (Adams, The Essential JLA, p.33), I think he is speaking of what Christians describe as the work of the Spirit.

I have felt this Spirit in my own life; maybe you have too. My very faith is founded upon this, and I think many of my fellow UUs are the same way. After all, isn’t the Spirit alive and working in our social justice efforts? Are we not guided by a faith that moves us to seek justice and love the stranger as our neighbor? I believe we are, and I feel the Spirit working in this movement every day.

I’m proud to be a follower of the Holy Spirit, and each day I want to feel its call towards peace and justice, love and reconciliation. Our world certainly needs it.


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