An Inconvenient Wind

I am frequently struck with untimely bouts of the giggles.  They spring upon me at inappropriate times and the harder I try to subdue them, the more forcefully they press upon me.  It is an affliction many in my family share.

The Sunday before last, Rob and I were scheduled to serve Communion.  We look forward to this as it always comes with a blessing.  We had worshipped and were settling in to learn as the Pastor began to read John 3:8.  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”

wind2

A gentle shaking began beside me.  It grew and escalated in direct proportion with my annoyance.  If it’s not my kids, it’s my husband.  I lamented this inability to sit quietly and pay attention in church, before turning to eye the guilty party.  A whispered explanation, had me quickly dissolving into giggles myself.  A verse like this is enough to put a family like ours over the edge.

With some difficulty I eventually gained control, and was able to listen to the rest of the message.

But God has His own sense of humour.

As Rob and I went forward to collect the communion trays, a friend caught my eye indicating that she would be coming to me to receive the elements.  I looked forward to serving her and kept an eye out for her in the crowd.

I stood with the bread and juice trays, and soon saw she would be among the first to receive.  We made eye contact and exchanged smiles, and in that moment I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit.

Pray a blessing over her.

Now, part of this, I LOVE!

You see, this dear woman seems to get an extra dose of love, care and presence from God.  It could be because she needs it.  She has faced much affliction.  But I can’t help but wonder, what if, it is simply because she asks for it?!

Part of it made me nervous though.  Upon feeling the nudge, being the obedient child I am (sense some sarcasm here), I immediately engaged in a little argument.

“I can’t do that.  I’ll look weird.”

Daughter, be more ok with looking weird.  Speak a blessing.

So, as this beautiful woman moved in front of me to receive the bread and the cup, I nervously leaned in and began to speak.  She rested her forehead against mine and gently stroked my cheek with the back of her hand.

To be honest, I don’t know what I said.  No, this Mennonite girl wasn’t speaking in tongues.  I was merely nervous.  Turns out, what I said probably wasn’t that important.  For in that moment of togetherness we both felt a whisper of the Presence and were soundly blessed.

She left with her blessing and her portion, and I remained where I was.  Prepared to share more.

I quickly realized, however, that the people waiting in line were not quite as eager to receive.  They stood as far back from me as they could; reaching to receive the elements with extended arms and nervous faces.  I’m pretty sure they had just lined up for some crackers and juice, and by this point, were convinced they had chosen the wrong line.  I could see the headlines: Mennonite Girl Goes Pentecostal in Alliance Church.  I’m pretty sure they worried they were about to get more than they bargained for.

I’m convinced God has a marvelous sense of humour and was just waiting to tie it all together.  Who would have thought He’d use a quote from a University textbook for a course I took over 17 years ago.

“However calm it may be outside of the wigwam, there always prevails inside a very inconvenient wind, since these Indians let it go very freely, especially when they have eaten much moose . . . “[1]

John 3:8 likens the Spirit to the wind.  It blows where it wishes.

Do we welcome the wind of the Spirit, or is it to us, an inconvenient wind?

What if we ate our fill of the Word, and then released the wind of the Spirit to blow freely in, around, and through us, regardless of the stillness outside our wigwam?  What if we stopped quenching the Spirit with outstretched, stiff-arm, living, content with the stillness?

What if we threw caution to the wind, not caring that all this blowing would make us weird?

wind

[1] A Few Acres of Snow: Documents in Canadian History, 1577-1867, edited by Thomas Thorner ©1997, Broadview Press Ltd. page 41 from New Relation of Gaspesia, 1691; Christien Le Clerq

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