Is the Holy Spirit like a Dove or a Wild Goose?

My colleague and some thoughts about our perception of the Holy Spirit

New Beginnings

A caveat as I begin: Scripturally speaking, it is true to speak of the Holy Spirit as a dove. After all, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during his baptism “in the form of a dove” (cf. Mark 1:10). I ask the title question in order to explore the metaphor in today’s context (specifically, my context as a young(er) female Presbyterian pastor in a suburb of Houston).

On top of my stack of books these days is Ronald Ferguson’s history of the Iona Community, Chasing the Wild Goose. Iona is a 3.5 mile long island in the Scottish Hebrides with a deep spiritual history. The first Christian community founded on the island was by St. Columba, an Irish priest, in the 6th century. Celtic Christianity, in which Columba’s community was rooted, thinks of the Holy Spirit less like a dove and more like a wild goose.

The imagery of…

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Author: katyandtheword

Pastor Katy has enjoyed ministry at New Covenant since 2010, where the church has solidified its community focus. Prior to that she studied both Theology and Christian Formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She also served as an Assistant Chaplain at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital and as the Christian Educational Coordinator at Bethany Presbyterian at Bloomfield, NJ. She is an writer and is published in Enfleshed, Sermonsuite, Presbyterian's today and Outlook. She writes prayers, liturgy, poems and public theology and is pursuing her doctorate in ministry in Creative Write and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She enjoys working within and connecting to the community, is known to laugh a lot during service, and tells as many stories as possible. Pastor Katy loves reading Science Fiction and Fantasy, theater, arts and crafts, music, playing with children and sunshine, and continues to try to be as (w)holistically Christian as possible. "Publisher after publisher turned down A Wrinkle in Time," L'Engle wrote, "because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was too difficult for children, and was it a children's or an adult's book, anyhow?" The next year it won the prestigious John Newbery Medal. Tolkien states in the foreword to The Lord of the Rings that he disliked allegories and that the story was not one.[66] Instead he preferred what he termed "applicability", the freedom of the reader to interpret the work in the light of his or her own life and times.

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