The wind blows where it wills

C S Lewis encourages us, after we have looked at things, to look along them. Standing in a woodshed one day he saw flecks of dust dancing in a sunbeam. Examining it closer he looked up the beam through a gap in the door at the top to the tree beyond and – 90 million miles beyond that – to the sun.

Lewis reflected that we, moderns, always want to understand what we see but we do not always go beyond what our senses give us to what lies behind. The spectacular sunbeam in a darkened room drew his thoughts along to its source.

‘The wind blows where it will’ (John 3:8) and every day we hear words and see images that speak to us of ‘truth and life’ (John 14:6). If we go further as it were along these waves of light and sound we come to the source, the Spirit, which ‘fills the whole earth’ (Wisdom 1:7).

‘Pentecost’ started out as an agricultural festival but became associated with the covenant at Sinai when ’fire and wind came from heaven’ and God revealed himself to Moses and the people of Israel (Exodus 19:26). Today we remember Pentecost (Acts 2:1) as the occasion when the Spirit appeared in the form of tongues of fire accompanied by a powerful wind.

When Jesus walked this earth his contacts were limited to a few thousand people in a remote corner of the Roman Empire over the period of one generation. This new Sinai was a manifestation of the outpouring of the Spirit over every generation in every corner of the globe.

Is there any limit to the presence of the ‘spirit of Jesus’ (Acts16:7) in our world today? It is certainly not confined to Christians or even religiously minded people. The Spirit of the Lord ‘fills the whole earth’ and can be glimpsed when we see the peaceful face of an elderly person, the smile of an intellectually handicapped man or woman, the alert patience of a prisoner, the passion of a musician, the flare of a footballer and so forth. This fire is burning even if at times the embers seem to have gone out.

The church is the place where we remember and explicitly celebrate the presence of the Spirit. But that same Spirit is also present in the wisdom of our ancestors and the goodwill of our contemporaries.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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