Despite the fact that Christianity is a Trinitarian faith, there is a tendency for many Christians to give a lot more attention to (to use the traditional formulation) the Father and the Son than to the Holy Spirit. We know that we receive the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, many of us can even list the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we don’t always spend a lot of time focusing on that person of the Trinity.
To help remedy that, last summer I led a parish book group through a rich and rewarding three-session discussion of Jack Levison’s Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life. Thus, I was delighted when Jack, who I had met last year when we both presented at the Seattle University Search for Meaning Book Festival, sent me an advance copy of his new book, 40 Days with the Holy Spirit: Fresh Air for Every Day. The book is now available for pre-order and will be out within a month.
40 Days is a daily devotional aimed at deepening our appreciation and apprehension of the Holy Spirit. This new book, scheduled for release on February 28, contains a beautiful selection of scripture passages, personal stories that help unpack those passages, suggested prayers, and most importantly, the invitation to grapple with how we understand the Holy Spirit and how it operates in our lives.
Seven verbs frame the book, verbs that Levison suggests frame our lives: breathing, praying, practicing, learning, leading, building, and blossoming. For the author, there is a “sequence to these verbs. They lead from deep within to the world outside”, thus ending with exploring “how the Holy Spirit helps us to blossom beyond ourselves, beyond the church – and in the world.
There are a lot of things I like about this book. Certainly its combination of scripture, scholarship, personal story and prayer, which makes it accessible to a broad range of readers. The fact that so many of the entries emphasize a particular word or phrase, providing an easily-grasped take-away from each day. The scripture selections themselves. And the accessibility of the writing.
The title promises 40 days with the Holy Spirit; I’m confident the book will prompt many more days of reflection than that. I heartily recommend it as something you might use for your daily prayer.