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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Holy Trinity

I don't know that it is sacrilegious to observe that in the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit gets the least ink. The deity is a bit like Ringo of the Beatles, or Kevin of the Jonas Brothers.

On Saturday night, however, I had the experience of seeing the Holy Spirit descend upon University Chaplain Reverend Stephen Nickle. It was during the closing remarks of the "Surviving and Thriving" panel for new students. This is our sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll talk that accompanies hilarious and moving skits by the student residential life staff. As we were invited to speak, I could sense a change happening with Rev. Nickle. While each of us on the panel made our remarks he clearly was in a different place. He was seated to my right, and he sat back, deferring to the panel as an unmistakeable focus came over him and his eyes welled up. This is when the Spirit moved him.

I have often been amazed at how in impromptu settings the Rev. can summon the Lord with an articulation most couldn't invoke at the computer screen, under little pressure. This time I saw it happen, and it was inspiring. As he leaned into the microphone and began to preach the final message of the night, the audience sensed it too, I think. What he said mattered less than how he said it, as he lifted the new students. I think they understood, as did I, that it was more than just words. For that moment, he led us to believe.

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