We must begin by rewording this question, for it should not be ‘What is the Holy Spirit?’, but ‘Who is the Holy Spirit?’ For the Holy Spirit is a person, someone we can know, someone who comes to guide and strengthen us, someone who fills and equips us in our daily lives, so that we grow to become more like Jesus.
When Christians speak about the Holy Spirit they are speaking about the Third Person of the Trinity, someone who is Himself God and who is alive, available and active in the world today. To talk about the Holy Spirit is to talk about Christ, for the Holy Spirit is the promised gift of God to the Church. But although we think particularly of the Holy Spirit as the source of all love, joy and peace, the Spirit is also the agent of creation itself. He is the one who inspired the Old Testament prophets and guided God’s people through the centuries before the coming of Jesus.
It was the Holy Spirit who was active in the circumstances that led up to the birth of Jesus and who empowered his ministry. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins and failings and who assures us of God’s forgiveness when we are truly sorry. It is the Spirit who speaks to us through the Scriptures and brings us new life through Baptism and Holy Communion. It is the Spirit who helps us in our prayers, brings life to our worship and fills us with the life of Christ himself.
Just as a balloon is flat and empty unless we blow it up, so without the Spirit we are empty and lifeless. In the words of a familiar hymn:
Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what Thou dost love
and do what Thou wouldst do.
(from the Diocese of Portsmouth website )
Many of the things you see at Holy Spirit, Southsea are the normal, traditional and time-hallowed visual aids to worship. The vast majority of Christians, at all times and in all places, have found them helpful in opening the door to the reality of God's presence, encouraging a sense of prayerfulness, and pointing us towards 'the beauty of holiness'. You may find that some of the language and things we use in this church seem very much like you would find in a Roman Catholic Church. These externals however, are very much part of the high Church tradition of the Church of England which has existed in this land for many centuries.