The wind of the Spirit

“Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.”  How is it that every time there is a reeeally windy day, like today, or last Friday (more on that later), the refrain from that song by KANSAS becomes an ear worm?  The song came out, cough choke, FORTY years ago!  I was a freshman in high school living in northwestern Kansas, and believe me, there were days the dust blew pretty hard – not dust bowl days hard, but hard enough to get into your eyes and you could feel it hitting your skin.  I shared on Chat with the Pastor yesterday that one of the things I’m grateful for, on some days, is wind.  I can’t exactly say why, maybe reminiscence of growing up, but there’s something freeing about the awareness of things for which we have no control.  One of my favorite scriptures, John 3:8 “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.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  How can you not love that?  It’s genius really.  Jesus is talking with Nicodemus about the whole born of the Spirit from above thing, and Nicodemus is stuck in his concrete thinking, horizontal thinking, and Jesus is challenging him to think vertically.  Get beyond that which you think you can define and control, and give God a little trust to take you where God know is best for you to go.

It’s pretty hard, that letting go-letting God part, at least for most humans.  We tend to think we know best, not only for ourselves, but for most of the people around us whether we know them well or not.  There was a colleague one time, I didn’t know particularly well, but he told the story on multiple occasions about how one of his wife’s single co-workers loved to come home with her after work to spend the evening with them because their life was so “normal.”  His description of that “normal” life was their toddler running around playing, his wife in the kitchen making dinner, and he either in the living room reading or in his office working.  He then would describe in detail how the woman who was the guest would tell them how she longed to have that kind of “normal” life just like theirs.

A grand picture I suppose – you know, reminiscent of Ward, June, Wally, and the Beav.  “Leave it to Beaver” black and white television fame.  Wally or the Beav got themselves into pretty innocent trouble and it was always solved by Ward by the end of 30 minutes.  June did housework in a lovely dress with an apron.  I sorta wondered when our colleague would share this in meetings if he realized that his “normal” wasn’t everyone’s nor was it even everyone’s dream as it clearly was for him.

I don’t think when Jesus says that the wind blows where it wills, we hear the sound but do not know from whence it comes or where it goes, that he was speaking of a reality of one size fits all in life.  The wind of the Spirit moves some into higher educations and professions; moves others into vocations that keep our infrastructure working; moves still others into ministry and service; and moves others into lifetimes of searching and seeking and trying to survive; and that list isn’t the half of it and nor a shadow of the whole and is certainly not gender specific.  Is it possible that what’s normal for me may not be for you, and what’s normal for you may not be for anyone else, and that finally what God wants for each of us is to follow the wind of that Spirit in the true-for-us direction that blesses us and blesses others through us regardless of other anyone else’s judgment?

So the gale-force winds last Friday, bitter cold and not a seeming line of protection – wind and water ALWAYS win finally.  You know Common Grace is preparing for THEEE best Living Nativity experience ever, again this year!!!  Each year they have done it, it has been tweaked and made better and added to and enhanced.  This year they are looking at the tents we have at Grace as possible protection from the elements for our “actors” who bravely stand in the elements to give the rest of us a sense of the reality of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus plus a donkey or two, maybe a sheep, and definitely a camel.  

I digress . . . so in the gale-force winds last Friday, the Spirit evidently blew into Kyle and his Common Grace buddy Josh, that they should do a test run with one of our tents to see if it would withstand gale-force winds in case that might be the weather on Living Nativity Day, December 4 (starting at 3, running through 5 when there will be a 30 minute candlelight and communion worship service, 11485 S. Ridgeview Rd. Olathe – jes’ sayin’). They are trying to put up this tent in what SEEMED like a possible F4 tornadic wind, annnnnnd they needed help.  Of course I’ll be happy to help!  We got it up, were holding it down from blowing us to OZ and Kyle gets stakes and hammers them into the feet of said tent, and I come back inside.  Only then do I notice a piece of metal has (I told Kyle SlICED my finger) more like scratched it, but enough so it bled.  And I will live with that scar having sacrificed my safety to aide and abet the preparation for Jesus’ birth, sort of, on Dec. 4 at Grace’s campus.  Me and John the Baptist, preparing the way . . . o.k., o.k., I haven’t lived my adult life in the wilderness wearing clothing made of camel’s hair and a leather belt and eating locusts and honey, but I DO have the sandals.  Does anyone think Kyle and Josh will ever live down my injury and the possible F4 tornadic winds and my sacrifice for them . . . ever?!!?  I’m not sure about John the Baptist, but my memory is loooooong.

The wind of the Spirit blows where it chooses, you can hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it came from or where it goes.  I hope today that wind frees our spirits from needing everyone to fit into our version of “normal”. I hope today the wind frees our minds to have a little wackadoodle fun with the people with whom we work to make the world a better place.  I hope the wind today reminds us that finally God is in charge and if we open our awareness we may catch a glimpse of what can never be captured and yet is ever-present, even the Spirit of grace!

“Now don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.  It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy . . . Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.”  Gotta love it, KANSAS the band, 1977, enjoy hair, clothes, ruffled tuxedo shirts that go on forever . . .