The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes (John 3:8).
And you know this to be true. The wind does not listen to you; it does not consent to be controlled. It comes when it comes, and you feel it when it arrives.
The wind is capricious and challenging to predict, hard to anticipate, difficult to grasp. Even with the newest math and the best instruments, the smartest and most trained experts cannot say where the wind is going. It’s too much to know. “Such knowledge is too wonderful,” so high it cannot be attained (Ps. 139:6).
Knowledge of the wind, like knowledge of the Spirit, like knowledge of God, like knowledge of the Trinity, is knowledge we cannot contain, or bear, Christ teaches. Knowledge of that kind breaks down into mystery, something hidden from us, something that is beyond us.
It is beyond our understanding, beyond our expectations, beyond our experience. The Spirit is more than what we construe it to be.
And this is good news! Because God is more than our dilemmas and disappointments. God is more than our trauma and terror. God is more than our deepest grief or our most persistent longing. God is more than our depression and our cynicism. God is more than our exhaustion and our exasperation.
God breaks into the world’s inertia like a storm breaking through a summer’s doldrums. God’s light breaks into the depths of our world’s most well-worn patterns and habits, the things we are most certain of, the things we think know best – like how to suspect the stranger, hate the competition, hold a grudge against the transgressor, dehumanize the enemy, plot evil under the cover of night, and murder the threat before we are threatened.
The Spirit breaks into the depths of our world’s most well-worn patterns and habits, the things we are most certain of, the things we think we know best, and we are shown a different way. The wind blows where it chooses, and this time, it’s to somewhere new, and we are surprised, because we did not predict, did not anticipate, could not grasp what the Spirit does, what God does, what the mystery of the Divine does, and will always do, from one day to the next, and on and on, for all time and all eternity, in every corner of the world, even here, even now. Thanks be to God. Amen.