Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 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 who is born of the Spirit.”
Does it upset you when things change and you have to do things in a different way?
It is so easy to get comfortable with doing things one way. I must admit change is sometimes difficult for me. When we have to adjust to change it is like the wind blowing where it chooses, in the morning there is a gentle warm breeze blowing from the south and then without notice it has changed to a blustering cold wind from the north. The north wind brings a temperature change and we have to put on a sweater or a jacket. There is a different feel in the air and we have to adjust to it.
Jesus goes on to contrast life in the flesh and life in the Spirit. And one of the key characteristics of life in the spirit is an element of freedom. We are not bound by the same concerns of those who live according to the flesh because our future and fate are sealed by God’s tremendous love. Just as the wind can change direction and we don’t know where it is going, Jesus shows that being born of the Spirit from above means that we need to change as the Spirit of God leads us. When the Spirit blows we don’t want to resist its movement. The Spirit of God blows where it chooses which brings us to new challenges, new experiences, and opportunities of sharing God’s love with others. The Spirit — which Jesus later defines as his own Spirit — accompanies and empowers us to face a future that we may feel is uncertain but has been secured by the death and resurrection of Jesus. From this perspective, the anxiety that many of us feel when we don’t have a road map — can be transformed into excitement. Yea! We will discover the road as we go. This means that we are free to change — we don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. We can experiment, risk, fail (we can’t experiment without failing), learn, and grow in ways we’d never imagined. Because the Spirit of Christ will blow us in directions we hadn’t imagined.
Over the years I have seen many changes in the world and the church. In the church we have seen changes in styles of worship and music, Sunday School dropped in attendance, then along came a stronger interest in Wednesday night Bible Study for all ages.
When the Spirit of God blows may we not resist, but move with it and meet the changes God calls us to so we can love a world that does not love God, or is turned off by the church. Being born from above gives us freedom to move about in God’s love and adjust to new things, new people, new and different modalities and situations. May we be open to the wind of the Spirit of God and freely move to love and serve the world around us that Jesus came to save.
- In what ways do we need to let the Spirit of God blow us in the direction to share God’s love with the NONEs and the DONEs?
- How can we adjust as the Spirit of God blows us into new challenges of service and love for others?
- Is the Spirit of God blowing on you, moving you to open your heart to share God’s love with those who are different from you?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.