I’m preaching this Sunday. It’s the first time in a year I’ve preached and will be the first time at Grace Episcopal. Plus this will be the first time I’ve preached twice in one day: the 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. services. Me getting out of bed at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning is going to be a sight to see. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about wind. Both the Greek and Hebrew words for spirit also mean wind and breath. I’ve been playing with the wind being a metaphor for the Spirit. I’m from Oklahoma, and I have lived in some part of the Midwest for 26 years. In other words wind is a part of my life. I really like the wind as a metaphor for the Spirit.
Wind is unpredictable. You don’t know what it’s going to do. It can give you a wonderful cool breeze on a hot summer day. It can also destroy large swaths of land and city. As Jesus told Nicodemus you can’t see either the wind or the Spirit but you can feel them. You don’t where either comes from or where they are going. Wind is not something anyone can control. It decides when it blows and how. It can choose to be still and silent or roaring hundreds of miles per hour. No one tells the wind where to blow, but it will blow you a few blocks up the street on certain days. It’s wonderful when it acts like we think it should, and it’s disasterous when it does what it want to do with no regard to humanity.
I think this is why we don’t here to much about the Holy Spirit. We can’t control her. Godde the Father-Mother gets put in a nice, neat little box with all of her attributes. Godde the Son gets put in his own little box with his works and attributes. But what do we do with Godde the Holy Spirit? What do we do with this wonky member of the Trinity who doesn’t fit into all of our nice, net little boxes with the nice neat little attributes afixed to her box? The Spirit does what she wants and blows where she wants. When she gives a nice breeze of inspiration during private prayer, we love her. When she blows us out of our comfort zones to serve the poor and oppressed, we not to sure about her and her methods.
Just like the wind, fire cannot be controlled either. We love the illusion we control fire in the pits and fireplaces of life, but then a bush fire starts and devastates thousands of square miles, burning everything it comes across, blown by the unpredictable wind. We like to think the Spirit enriches our lives. We don’t like to think about the devastation that same Spirit can cause. Like the wind and the fire we cannot control Godde’s Spirit. She blows where she wills, convicts where she wills, redeems where she wills, and blows us kicking and screaming into obeying the Beatitudes instead of just giving them lip service.
She is the part of Godde that theologians, preachers, and writers have never been able to pin down, examine, and define. So we ignore her.
How do you think of the Spirit? What metaphors do you like for the Spirit? (C’mon! help a preacher gal out here.)