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June Note

From Pastor Ryan

“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.” – Jesus (John 3:8, NRSV)

Our last Gospel reading for the month of May came on the Sunday we know as The Holy Trinity, and it was a familiar one, including verses we were encountering for the third time this year. The first encounter was in our Lenten Dinner Church series, the second was on the 4th Sunday in Lent, and the last on Holy Trinity. The passage came from the third chapter of John’s Gospel when we see Nicodemus come to Jesus in the dark of night and with great curiosity to know more about this mysterious figure who seems to be of God.

When Nicodemus asks how anyone can understand and believe Jesus’ teachings, Jesus answers, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Jesus also says, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” John is using a clever play on words. The Greek word, πνευμα (pneuma), that gives us “Spirit” is also the word for “wind.” In this passage, John lays the foundation for what will come to be known as “pneuma-life.” In simpler words, when we are reborn into this life in Christ, we are born into a “pneuma-life” or “Spirit-life.”

Jesus uses the image of wind to help us understand the movement of the Holy Spirit. We can certainly feel it move past us, sometimes gently and sometimes harshly. We can get a general idea of where it’s coming from and where it’s going, but where does it actually begin and end? That is an impossible question to answer.
This is a valuable image for the Holy Spirit in our lives. How do you experience the Holy Spirit? Do you get a feeling? Do you see patterns? Do you hear certain things and know that they are of the Holy Spirit? We can get a sense of the Spirit but can’t know where it comes from or where it is going to go next.

It is important to reflect on the movement of the Holy Spirit year-round, but I encourage to truly reflect this summer. You may have family trips planned. You may be facing a grueling travel schedule for sports. You may be taking time off to simply rest, or your summer may simply be business as usual. No matter what awaits you this summer, I encourage you to keep your heart and mind open to however the Holy Spirit may surprise you, comfort you, challenge you, or nourish you. When you can, take some quiet time to yourself. When you are on the road, try to take in the sights around you. Whether you are experiencing something new or going through the daily routine, try to spot something you’ve never noticed before. These are the ways we can look for God at work through the Holy Spirit.

You just never know where God will show up, and you never know what the Holy Spirit may have in store!

May the Holy Spirit surprise you, and may you feel the joy only God can bring through Jesus Christ,

Pastor Ryan

Email Pastor Ryan:  pastorryan@sotpmail.com