Second Sunday in Lent
The Wind and the Spirit
by Maryann Verghese
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 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. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. –John 3:5-8
Living in southern California, wind immediately reminds me of the Santa Ana winds that put us at risk for wildfires. Yet this powerful wind also drives wind turbines, creating renewable energy. When wind comes, we take action and respond. But sometimes wind can simply be pleasant. I think of a cool, soothing breeze in the heat of a summer day. The wind shows us both power and rejuvenation.
In our reading for this week, Jesus talks about being born of the Spirit and compares the Holy Spirit to the wind. In Greek and Hebrew, the words for spirit also mean breath or wind. In John 3:8, Jesus is using the same word, pneuma, to talk about the wind and the Spirit. The wind and the Spirit, both unseen, definitely affect our world.
The wind asks us to act and gives us reprieve. The Spirit sustains us in this way: to take action and to rest. As we go forward, born in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit refreshes us in a gentle wind and urges us into action. Like the wind, the Spirit teaches us to take care of ourselves and to act for justice. May we remember to acknowledge all the ways the Spirit moves us as we go through this Lent season.
Prayer: God of life, we give you thanks for our birth in water and Spirit. Guide us as we live fully into our birth into Spirit. Grant us breath in rest and power in action for justice. Together, let us listen to where the Holy Spirit guides us. Amen.
Maryann Verghese is managing editor of response magazine.
Children’s art is from the 2023 Daily Prayer Guide.