Monday Reflections – June 13, 2016
Two great questions to reflect upon today that were placed in the offering plate yesterday.
Question: Are the cows milk cows?
Pastor Deb: First, I will give the context from which this question came. God’s Global Barnyard through ELCA Good Gifts is the Mission of the Month at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. It will also be the mission for VBS to which our VBS offerings will go. So during Children’s Time yesterday we talked about putting our resources together to raise money to purchase animals for others. One of the kids thought it would be great to raise enough money as a congregation for a cow ($500). However, I didn’t say what kind of cow it would be. After a little more research, I can confidently answer YES, the cow we would purchase would be a dairy cow. It might look a little different than the black and white dairy cows we see around here but it would be a dairy cow.
Question: I remember a while back it was always Holy Ghost and now we say Holy Spirit? When/Why did it change?
Pastor Deb: I do remember growing up with the term Holy Ghost being used more frequently than the word Holy Spirit. In doing some research I discovered that the two words “Ghost” and “Spirit” have been used interchangeably for more than 300 years. When translating Scripture, the Greek and Hebrew word can be translated either way. The KJV of the Bible used the word Ghost. Translations since then have used the word Spirit. I think part of the reason is because of the use of the word ‘ghost’ in our current English language. This usually brings images of white shadowy figures of departed human beings which can distract from the ‘breath’, ‘wind’ or ‘essence’ of God which is more Scriptural accurate. Today’s English word “Spirit” seems to capture that better. Exactly when that shift happened in ELCA churches, I am not sure. There is not an exact date when Churchwide declared this is what Lutheran churches are going to do! I think it was more of an evolution.
What is most important is to know that both of the phrases Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost refer to the third person of the Holy Trinity. Neither of them are wrong. Many of the translations of the Bible used in Lutheran and other churches today will refer to this Third Person as the Spirit. For this reason and because of the evolution of the English language, one will probably hear Holy Spirit used more now in churches.
Thank you for the questions. I love to receive them and look into them before answering them. It is one way I continue to grow and learn as well. If you have a question or a wonderment, please send it my way via email, text, Facebook or writing it down and leaving it at church.