I went running this morning in my shoeless shoes, pondering the fresh health I’m enjoying in my running because I’ve been liberated from the belief that the foot needs something other than itself to run well. It’s not the point of this post, but if you’re interested, you can read about it here.
The morning offered a bed of leaves through which to run because last night there was a wind storm, the kind that makes a howling sound in our attic bedroom, the kind that strips trees of leaves, reducing them to a shadowy stick figures of their former selves. They cling, the dead leaves do – until the wind is strong enough. Finally, some gust wins, and they’re gone.
I ponder Jesus words about the wind of the spirit blowing wherever it wants, and realize that sometimes the wind blows hard so that the things in our life that are enslaving us, weighing us down, and filling us with anxiety, can be untethered and float away. The wind can be painful, but it leaves spaciousness and liberty in its wake. “What is cluttering my world?”, I ponder, as my nearly naked feet touch the forest floor.
We cling to much that is needless, and as a result are too often, like that woman in the Bible, “concerned about many things”. Because of this we worry, we’re weary, and we’re prone to comfort ourselves by escaping from the mess we’ve made by hiding in our big and little addictions. Sometimes we look for you to bless our messes and our complexities, when what we really need is a good storm, a good gust of Spirit wind to whirl through our souls, stripping us of illusions. Only when the last dead leaf has been stripped away will we be truly free. And so I pray, as I prepare for an exceptionally busy day, which kicks off the fullest of weeks, and leads into what is, for many of us, the busiest of seasons:Blow, wind of the spirit; blow! Strip my life of all that enslaves. Blow through my possessions, and give me the capacity to release. Blow your wind through my shopping habits so that I don’t buy needlessly, in some vain attempt to fill a void. Blow your wind through the use of my time, that I might not be enslaved to meaningless pursuits, that I might invest in the things that matter – loving God, loving people, sharing my gifts and celebrating Yours. As I’m hanging on to destructive comforts, or petty bitterness, or shallow greed and fear, blow wind, blow. Release me.
Life comes to us, and pours through us, when the wind of your spirit liberates us from all that enslaves. Blow through my soul, blow through our church, freeing us from that which detracts from your purposes. Blow wind, blow. Forgive us for trying to preserve lifeless forms, when you long to free us so that new life can form. Blow. Blow. Blow. And when the wind stops, you will be there to cradle us in your love – and that will be life enough.
The wind blows friends – through loss, dead ends, illness, accidents, solitude, silence, weeping in the arms of Jesus, pouring our hearts out to God, listening for God’s voice, cleaning the office, doing the dishes, sitting with your aging parents, quiet music on a cloudy day as your read God’s words. And when the wind does its job, you’re released, lighter, liberated – may the wind of God’s spirit blow through our souls this day, and every day. Amen.