Catching the Wind
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. – John 3:8
Nicodemus was a big shot, a leader among the people; he is a religious professional, one to whom folks turn for advice on how to manage their lives and make sense of things. He comes to Jesus by night, aware of Jesus’ wisdom and his intimacy with God. Nicodemus and Jesus engage in a difficult conversation. When Jesus begins to speak of a new birth, a being born from above, Nicodemus is concerned. He is not sure how this fits in with what he has learned from his teachers, what he teaches others. Jesus’ words have a life about them, but his comments about transformation in human life make no sense in Nicodemus’ world, with his fixed ideas of how life fits together.
When people look at this scripture, often they turn to verse 16. That is the verse that begins, “For God so loved the world….” This is the verse you see on hand-painted signs at football games and for those who use it like this there is a particular emphasis placed on the phrase, “so that everyone who believes in…” This approach to Jesus has been helpful to many over millennia. However, I find verse 8 far more compelling. This is Jesus’ appeal to human freedom in relationship to God and the world. The Spirit comes to us not in the predetermined forms of our fixed ideas. Spirit comes to us how she will. God’s revelation is dynamic, not fixed. God is as the wind, blowing through life. We are the kites catching the wind, wherever she might blow.
I don’t think Jesus was interested in belief as in each of us making the assent that Jesus is God’s son. Far more important to our lives is that we catch the wind of God’s presence wherever it blows. To so catch Spirit’s wind is to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus is to be-love (root of the word, believe), the Spirit of love and compassion flowing through me to others and to a broken world. That’s what we will be talking about this Sunday! See you there!