The Present Tense
February 3, 2008, 12:05 pm
Filed under: books, denomination, theology

I’ve been reading a book for school called A Geography of God, by Michael Lindvall. It’s a short book with twenty chapters . . . meaning really short chapters. I’m reading the book way too fast – partly because it’s so good, and partly because of a narrow time frame in my school’s schedule. I will pick this one up again when I can linger a bit more in the pages. It’s good devotional reading . . . you might enjoy it during Lent.

Of the many notable sentences throughout the book, on a number of different topics, Lindvall makes reference to a seminary class he took in the mid-1970s. His professor referred to the Holy Spirit as “the Present Tense of God.” He says, “The Spirit is God’s gracious answer to our longing to experience the reality of God in our present time-and-space-bound life” (p. 42).

I’ve frequently noted in a sarcastic way that many in my denomination, as well as in modern evangelicalism in general don’t believe in the Trinity. We like God the Father, “Almighty maker of heaven and earth.” We like Jesus Christ, “the only begotten Son, our Lord.” But the Holy Spirit? Don’t trust the Spirit . . . too out of control, unpredictable, radical for our liking. Nope, makes us feel uncomfortable.

And yet here we are, in desperate need of something real. Something that speaks to us in the middle of the mundane, and in the dark nights, and in the fullness of the sun. The Present Tense of God. Linger on that phrase, and let it linger in you as you enter your Lenten journey.


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