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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