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Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Lectionary Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29:1-11, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17 Two of this week's texts continue the focus on the Holy Spirit, serving as a follow-up to our celebration of Pentecost this past Sunday—Romans 8 and John 3. We find that this Holy Sprit can be a bit dangerous. It can’t be controlled. You never know, things might get out of hand if the Holy Spirit goes to work on us. It could even change us in ways that would be a little like being “born” all over again (John 3:3). At least that’s what Jesus told Nicodemus. No wonder Nicodemus was confused. Surely I can’t go back into my mother’s womb and start over again! That’s when Jesus tells him about this dangerous Spirit that is like a wind that blows wherever it chooses. You don’t quite know where it comes from or where it’s going, and if you let it get hold of you it will carry you right along with it. (John 3:8) Being “born again,” “born from above” (as several translations have it), is equated with being “born of the Spirit.” Jesus is talking about “spiritual” birth, a renewal of the inner spirit, being born into a new way of looking at and responding to the world. Perhaps we need to stop, set aside all previous assumptions, and look at the world new, or look at it as if we had been given new eyes, new eyes coming from the realization that we are the children of God, sharing in God’s very identity and Spirit. The Romans passage tells us that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14) Children frequently partake of the spirit bestowed upon them by their parents, their way of viewing the world being shaped by their parents. Imagine the possibilities when God is the parent. We could be blown off our feet by seeing, even if through a glass darkly, the world around us, its people, it problems and possibilities, through the eyes of our father/mother God. Was it the Spirit of God Bob Dylan heard “Blowin’ In The Wind”? He asked a series of questions, such as: “How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?” “How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?” “How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry? “How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?” Great, profound, and disturbing questions. “The answer, my friend,” Dylan say, “is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” If we want to be part of the answer to the questions facing us in these troubled times perhaps we can start by letting ourselves be blown along by the wind of God’s Spirit. In 1907, Jessie Adams, an English Quaker, penned a hymn, I Feel the Winds of God Today. The first stanza begins and the final stanza ends with these words: “I feel the winds of God today; Today my sail I lift.” One of the striking sentences in the middle of the hymn says, “If cast on shores of selfish ease, or pleasure I should be, Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I’ll put back to sea.” There’s a wind blowing out there. Do you feel it? It might blow us all over. Wouldn’t that be great?

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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