Support the Café
Search our site

A (Holy) Ghost story

A (Holy) Ghost story

When I was a young teenager, one Wednesday night at Evensong, I thought I saw the Holy Ghost passing through our chancel.

(This was in the days when the Holy Ghost still haunted our liturgical language, although she was beginning to show her spirited side.)

I suspect that this experience was not too long after the English lessons in which I had learned that John Donne and others considered that angels may be comprised of compressed air: the subtle differences in density around a candle flame, or the shiver of heat on a horizon might indicate the presence of something from another part of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth.

But this, this invisibility that I could swear I saw lifted on the song of the choir and seeping into the Lady Chapel beyond – this was not an angel, I felt in my bones, but the Holy One itself.

At the distance of some decades, I still wonder what happened. I am not altogether ready to write off the experience as teenaged excess of emotion. I believed it at the time: why not now?

The remembrance of my fear, trembling, and faith as I witnessed whatever was going on in the air that night sustains me through this season, whose decorations do not entertain me, I am sorry to say. I am not so far removed from death, decay, and demons that I need the Hallowe’en décor to remind me that they exist. I turn away from the tombstones and their terrible puns.

But the language of the Holy Ghost reminds me that there is holiness at work in the shadows, and blessings in the darkness, solidarity in the Spirit. That compression of air, it was like a holy kiss.


The Revd Rosalind C Hughes was baptized in the Church of England, confirmed in the Church in Wales, and ordained in the Episcopal Church, USA. She is the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Euclid, Ohio, and the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing. Her blog is over the water @rosalindhughes.com


Featured image: United Free Church interior. 1913. Dunlop, East Ayrshire. Mr.R.S.McLalland, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_012
2020_013_B
2020_013_A
2020_011

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café