There are many kinds of wind. On a hot summer day we appreciate a moderate breeze that brings a certain amount of cooling to the air around us but that same moderate breeze on a cold winter’s day can chill us to the bone. The wisp of moving air in the Fall that rattles the leaves, causing a few of them to settle softly to the ground, can bring a certain solace to the soul. The moderate to heavy winds that accompany rain or snow can bring danger to those outside the safety of their homes but to those inside it can lend an awe inspiring drama to the scene. When there is no wind, or even a gentle movement of the air, we can easily forget that the invisible elements that support life even exist. God does not allow this to happen very often and sometimes His dramatic creation reminds us in a frightening way that the air around us can bring death and destruction… as well as Life.
At the very beginning of time, a mighty wind swept over the waters (Gen. 1:1). After 40 days of rain, God made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside (Gen. 8:1). When the Hebrews were confronted by the Red Sea, the Lord swept the sea with a strong east wind (Ex.14:21), allowing them to cross.
Notice that in all three of these Old Testament encounters with a strong wind, what follows is a new creation of some kind. There are many more examples. While asleep in the boat with the apostles, a violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat… they woke Him… He rebuked the wind… they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey” (Mk.4:37-41)? Jesus has just awakened them to a new understanding of His divine nature co-existing with His human nature.
There is something about wind that reminds us that there a exists a power greater than us and beyond our control. For those who ignore God’s existence it is Mother Nature but for us who believe, she is part of God’s ingenious creation, which continues to evolve under His omniscient presence.
Today, Pentecost Sunday, there is another new creation, Holy Mother Church, brought into existence by the power of the Holy Spirit who enters like a strong driving wind. It is the birthday of the Church, the ultimate Joy of God’s creative presence in the world for the benefit of our physical bodies as well as our immortal souls. How can we not stand up and take notice, as those outside the upper room, in the awe and wonderment of this momentous day?!