Definitely not a Spook

Very soon the Church celebrates Pentecost (we used to call it ‘Whitsun’). It marks the occasion 50 days after Easter when the Holy Spirit was ‘poured out’ on the group of followers of Jesus who had obeyed his command to ‘wait in Jerusalem’ until they were ‘clothed with power’. The gift of the Holy Spirit was that ‘power’. It turned them from an anxious group of 120 men and women hiding in an upper room into a revolutionary movement. In their opponents’ words, and despite fierce persecution, they ‘turned the world upside down’. Within four centuries the Christian faith had captured the Roman Empire.

They took no credit for this. They saw it as the work of this ‘Holy Spirit’. The fact that today there are billions of people in the world who believe the same message suggests that it still is. I think the problem for many people is that they associate the word ‘spirit’ with ‘Ghost’, which was how for centuries he was named in English. 

The Holy Spirit is the third ‘Person’ of the Holy Trinity. I refer to Him as ‘he’, but the word for Spirit in Greek is neuter. One scholar called the Spirit ‘the executive officer of the Godhead’ – the One who gets things done. God the Father created us, God the Son, Jesus, rescued us and now God the Holy Spirit continues their purpose in the world until the kingdom comes.

Betting adverts and children

The Church of England has spoken out against the ‘flood’ of betting adverts being shown during prime-time sports matches and on social media. 

Such adverts send ‘false messages’ to the many children watching, warns the bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith. ‘A recent survey found that children increasingly believe that gambling requires skill and is a good way to make money.’ 

He went on: ‘A whole generation of children is being led to believe that they can get rich quickly.’ Meanwhile, gambling addiction is on the rise among young people, and violent crime is on the rise at licensed clubs and betting shops.