When I give talks, I often ask my audience about the Holy Spirit, about who he is and what he does in their life, and I have yet to have gotten a solid answer. I am not surprised, because before I began dancing I did not have a solid answer either. I knew the Spirit bestowed some gifts and some fruits, and he was depicted as a dove. If I tried hard, I would remember that he proceeded from the Father and the Son, but that was the extent of it. I could not tell you what he did in my life. I could not tell you how what he did, nor could I tell you how what he and Jesus did were different.
But in reflecting on dance I discovered the key to understanding the Holy Spirit and what he does in my life. The role of the Holy Spirit in my life went from being very nebulous to very obvious. Not only obvious, but also very wonderful.
In the dance the follower must listen to the music with her ears and to the leader with her body. She uses different senses for listening to the other two parts of the dance, and she listens to both parts at the same time! It occurred to me the same was true for my spiritual dance. I must listen to both Jesus and the Holy Spirit at the same time, and I have spiritual senses for doing just that.
In the analogy of the dance we speak of the Holy Spirit as the music or as the musician. Both images are important to understanding how he loves us. Music provides a very evocative image of the Spirit who in a sense swirls about the dance couple. We enter into the music and the music enters into us. The Holy Spirit is our Music Divine. The Spirit is the Divine Musician; he is a person, who loves us every bit as much as Jesus. He has a personality as rich and as amazing as Jesus. He has a love and a wisdom as grand and limitless as Jesus. He is not a nameless mist, but one of the three persons of the Trinity.
Just as the Holy Spirit unites the Son to the Father, so too he unites us to Jesus Christ. He awakens in us the desire for Christ, in the same way a favorite song awakens the follower’s heart to dance. Just as song tells the follower what her dance will be like in the way that it is composed, the Holy Spirit prepares us to encounter and to receive Christ with the way he composes his song for us. One of the greatest compliments a man can get on the dance floor is when a woman runs up and grabs him because her favorite song started playing and she wants him to lead her. If our spiritual “ears” are good, then when the Holy Spirit plays our favorite song we will run to our favorite leader, Jesus.
After understanding this dynamic, the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit made sense. It was clearly obvious that these things would come to us from the Spirit! This is because many of the gifts are reflected in the gift of earthly music. For instance, peace is a gift a mother can give to her child in the form of a lullaby. Armies would play bagpipes, drums or horns before battles to give the troops courage, also a gift of the Spirit. At parties we play music to bring us joy, also a gift of the Spirit. Some studies show that classical music helps us learn, with the gift of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
Just as earthly music gives us these gifts in small measure, the Holy Spirit gives these gifts in full measure, and he is always about. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as the Soundtrack of my life. The Holy Spirit is always about, surrounding us and showering us with his gifts. When we need wisdom in a conversation, then the Spirit plays a song of wisdom. When we are troubled the Spirit is a lullaby bringing peace. When we are in a battle, he is a battle hymn bringing fortitude. When we are in celebration in a celebration he is a jig to dance to. It is our joy to inform our dance with that Music, to be true to the Music, to be in harmony with that Music. While the Spirit can tell us exactly what to do, oft times he is telling us not so much what to, do but more how to do it, because the what, when and where of our life are most properly defined by Christ.