I grimaced and leaned in against the cold February wind, hurriedly sprinting across the parking lot as I sought the comfort of my vehicle. The west wind was stiff and relentless.
However, my dreamy ambition was solidly interrupted. I found myself invited into a parking lot conversation. I zipped up my coat and hunkered down amidst the unfolding conversation. I attempted to focus on the dialogue as the wind mercilessly bit through my clothing.
I looked longingly at my vehicle, mere feet from where I stood. I began imagining its temperature controlled comfort and heated seat, all of which awaited me.
The wind blew. The conversation tarried.
At Weaverland, we have a very windy parking lot.
Without fail, even on what may be an otherwise calm day, a gentle breeze is almost always noted. On other days, an unrestrained blast comes unapologetically across the fields from the west. With rare exception, throughout every season, a breeze or stiff wind will greet and personally escort all who grace our parking lot.
On this particular day, as I cowered in the wind and hoping the conversation would soon end, I was reminded of other seasons standing at this same place.
I recalled a gorgeous Spring morning. As the sun was rising, geese flew overhead and the wonderful aroma of freshly tilled soil from neighboring fields were captured by the gentle breeze. Another time on a beautiful evening, the mesmerizing fragrance of freshly cut alfalfa drifted across our conversation as the summer breeze gently touched our space.
Jesus likens the Holy Spirit to the wind, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Indeed, the wind can be relentless; its power overwhelming; its fury can sting at times. The wind can, seemingly, make one hunker down and hang on; other times, its breezes are beautiful, gentle, and incredibly refreshing. Whether a stiff wind or a gentle breeze, everyone and everything in its path is touched by it.
The older I become, the more I realize how little I know or understand about the “wind” of the Holy Spirit, blowing and moving as it wills. It is:
I am reminded of a quote from an African bishop who appealed to his audience, “When the winds of the Spirit blow, do not put down the anchor, but raise the sail.”
Recently, I had opportunity go sailing in the sunny Caribbean Sea. This was a new venture for me. Until that day, I was often perplexed how two different sailboats could sail opposite directions while harnessing the same wind. After an hour in a training session, it became abundantly clear that attentiveness to the sail alongside the correct setting of the rudder enables the wind to be fully captured.
As I would soon discover, the wind alone moves the vessel. Human effort is helpless to move the vessel. If either setting is off the mark, the boat will remain dead at sea or drift off course.
As it is with the wind, so it is with the Holy Spirit.
It is mysterious.
It is beautiful.
It moves us.
It propels the church.
In faith and with expectation, observing, celebrating, partnering in the activity of God ensures our sail is fully raised and fully capturing the gentle winds of the Holy Spirit.
Being centered in Christ and the Word gives assurance one’s rudder is on point and their vessel is on course.
Indeed, may it be that my sail would be raised to full mast and the rudder set to fully harness the wind and direction of the Holy Spirit.
Lord may the winds of the Holy Spirit continue to blow among us and throughout the Weaverland Valley.