We have all known someone that seems to have a dark cloud over them. The weirdest and least-likely disasters happen to these people. Even when things are going well for them, they may make choices that bring more trouble into their lives. It seems that some people have had so much turmoil in their lives that turmoil seems normal, and they don’t know how to act when things are going well.

In many cases, people are simply victims of the poor decisions of others. In all cases, the real problem is darkness at work in their lives. Darkness, spiritual and emotional negativity, is the cause of most of our human problems. Where does darkness originate?

In Genesis chapter 3, we read the story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Although this is likely an allegorical story, the point is that darkness entered the human story by way of a lie. The first lie led humankind to stray-away from their peaceful lives of perfection to practice selfishness. Think about it, selfishness is at the root of all human problems.

How is darkness defeated? By the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Christ. How do we have strength to withstand darkness? By the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “… I will not leave you helpless. You will receive the Holy Spirit (Paraclete in Greek, meaning: Advocate, Guide, Comforter, Spirit of Truth), and he will lead you in all things.” (Paraphrased from John 14:15 & 15:26-27 & 16:12-15)

When many people hear the words “Holy Spirit”, they think of miraculous gifts of tongues and healings. While the Scriptures recount such events, these are not the primary focus of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God; the constant presence of God in all things. It is the real presence of God in all who believe and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.

If you have accepted the gift of grace provided by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit as a promised gift. The Holy Spirit stands watch over you. Why do some people seem to have a dark cloud over them? Perhaps it is because they have not accepted the gifts God has made available.

Being a follower of the living, loving, renewing, reconciling Christ has some clear benefits. You learn about God’s love in the acts of creation, redemption, and sustenance. You learn about being a responsible, productive member of society. You learn solid work ethics and civic duty. You learn to be a good steward of the gifts and talents you have. All of this is part of God’s work in the lives of believers.

That dark cloud can be dispersed. It requires a team effort; you, God, and your church family working together. I am not suggesting religion. I am suggesting healthy spirituality.

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+

Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at frdavid@standrewsgrove.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.