Sometimes we just don’t know which way the wind is blowing.
When we are tousled about in invisible forces, we may falter. When we experience buffeting gusts from different directions, we may become weary in staying the course, pushed this way and that. When we watch new patterns form in diversely layered clouds of companionship and conspiracy, vision and violence, hope and hindrance, we may become ruffled, windblown in spirit as we try to remain focussed on Christ who has called us to love and serve in his name in all kinds of weather.
The human heart, ours and others, tends to surprise with a variability which may be baffling. We find ourselves wondering at times, ‘Where did that come from?’ and may be tempted to waffle in the wind like a kite rising and dipping in the currents as if this were the only choice.
We are invited to come catch a higher current still which moves us ever upwards, helping us to know and understand our need of having hearts swept clean of all which blows in contradiction to his purity and love and not be swept along as lifeless victims by the rest.
These changeable patterns take place out in the world and inside the church. In outward expressions of community and in inner dealings with close colleagues and confidantes. In the personal whirlwinds of old hurts and out in untethered growth spurts where healing breezes begin to flow.
Intermittent showers of sky-high self interest may dampen the day. Cloudy self awareness adds to the confusion. Emotions may burst into meetings like cyclones. Thunderclouds of offence may cause warm and cold fronts to collide in swirling vertical cortexes of powerful exchange damaging the well being of everyone in its path. Squalls may erupt in unlikely moments. Driving sleet may abruptly alter plans from unexpected angles. Tempests in a teapot may spill over in gale-like force with tempers flying.
But it needn’t blow us off course.
Whirling winds of intense challenge and judgement often whip the backs of those who stand in the fray of manmade displays of power, a lightning rod for the Light of Christ to ground his people in the gospel way; those who are unwilling to be intimidated by the bluster of old guards or by harmful hurricanes set in motion over rough seas of churning dispute in preparation for a landfall of gusting lust for power meant to take us down.
‘Holy Spirit, Wind of God’s Will, you wait to carry us on currents of grace to soar above this stormy world from a broader point of view; to offer servant leadership in humble prayerfulness for all concerned. Keep us safe in the very eye of the storm where all is calm within our souls though the waters roar and rage, and the mountains fall into the sea.’
We remember that what blows most intensely may also blow away inner blindness bringing gifts of spiritual transformation. Gentle breezes of the Spirit in surrendered hearts are so different than monsoons of might against might blowing through unrepentant human natures coming at life from any number of directions.
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Galatians 5: 25, 26)
A whirligig is great for child’s play in determining the direction of the wind in inconsequential matters, but when it comes to discerning inter-personal systems carrying precipitating events with far reaching implications, we need a more accurate weather vane to keep in step with Christ than colourful presentations of ego whims designed to catch our attention. We will try in vain to catch the wind of sailing through a storm by milling our own wisdom. The much greater current of the Spirit is necessary to form us into his likeness and bring us safely to the other side in body, mind, and spirit. We gradually learn to trust that he is separating wheat from chaff in the storehouse of our hearts as he throws it all in the winds of judgement through the love of Christ and blows away what does not belong.
Winds of ill will blow us about and take us places we would never want or expect to be, but the current of God’s love, much stronger than the whirlwind, overrides the natural human course. He brings us through fierce storms to perfect peace that passes all understanding, raining down blessings of deeper trust which turn droplets of draining duress into pools of cool waters caressing us with insight into the lofty ways of forgiveness, into the costly ways of lasting transformation, into the nearly lost art of flying kites in stormy weather which signal the direction of his Wind as a lasting word of hope.
‘Spirit of the living God, blow again to mark the day when mighty gifts were poured out on your church and we were blown away that you would take up residence in us. We want to be done with the drama of ‘blow upon blow’ to live in the flow of your grace. We want to fly high in ways which lift the banner of your love for all to see and lead the way to a windfall of grace.
Throw away all pretences shoring up our lives and replace them with true encounters of your eternally good life blowing through us. Awaken the mind of Christ in us to have full sway. Give us ears to hear your voice above the roar, listening with a straining heart, a fainting heart until we’ve caught the sound of your whisper drawing us to live and breathe and have our full being in you, far above the clouds which buffet and obscure our view of your glory.
For the one now tossed about, out of breath, caught in whirlwinds of any kind, lead them again to the stillpoint of your loving promise to bring them through the storm reflecting you. Amen.’