On Pentecost, Pastor Sara asked me to talk about "Five Things Presbyterians Believe About the Holy Spirit." Here they are, and are taken largely from our Book of Confessions.
1. The Holy Spirit did not suddenly come into being on Pentecost, but has always been the agent of the activity of God: brooding over the waters on the first day of Creation (Genesis 1:2), speaking to God's people through prophets and apostles, and creating a community of faith.
2. The Holy Spirit directs our attention to Jesus Christ. The Spirit is not interested in our talking about the Spirit so much as in our talking about and serving Jesus Christ.
3. The Holy Spirit makes human words become for us the Word of God: Scripture, preaching, and listening.
4. The Holy Spirit is the force of God in us that enables courage to witness, and to do acts of justice and reconciliation.
5. The Holy Spirit makes water, wine, and bread into vehicles for the grace of God. In Roman Catholic theology, for example, the key to this activity is the priest's saying Jesus' words, "This is my body... This is my blood." In Reformed theology, as in Orthodox theology, the key is for the presiding minister to call upon the Holy Spirit to make bread and wine be for us the Body and Blood of Christ. This is said in the portion of the communion prayer called the "epiclesis."