5-28-15 -Wind and Water

I don’t know what Nicodemus' Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator type would be, but based on this encounter recorded in John, we might label him very “J." He is a concrete thinker, likes to receive information without too much nuance and mystery. And here is Jesus (likely to be found in the perfectly balanced center of each Myers-Briggs continuum), telling him that his senses and intellect won't help him perceive all of reality; that there is a spiritual realm contiguous with this material world of ours, equally knowable, not by physical senses, or “flesh,” but by spirit.

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.”

Jesus says this is not a realm you can control – you can only be in it and attentive to it:
‘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.’

Poor Nicodemus. This makes his head hurt.

Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’

How can these things be? People who approach life more mystically would probably ask, “How could these things not be?” God made all kinds of people, who are then further shaped by genes, upbringing, traumas, gifts, friends, teachers… no wonder we approach reality so differently. But I do believe Jesus is saying that those who like their information very concrete will need to stretch and give their spirits some play in perceiving spiritual reality.

How do you tend to perceive and process information?
Does abstraction make you anxious, or too much concreteness make you feel hemmed in?
How do you respond to this word of Jesus’ about perceiving and receiving the Kingdom of God? It could be a good conversation to have with him in prayer…

We cannot perceive the the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked with our physical senses, any more than we can see a light wave. Our senses can show us the effects of the power of that Kingdom – healing, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation. But how these came about? That we can only perceive with our spiritual vision. When Jesus says, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit,” he is saying we need to let our natural approaches drown, float on the Living Water of Life, and open ourselves to the radically different seascape of God’s kingdom, or realm, or energy field.

We could say we are being invited to become sailboats, supported by Water and powered by Wind. Nicodemus wanted to be a motor boat, providing his own momentum, able to stop and start at will. Motor boats give us more control than sailboats.

But the realm of God is for those willing to hoist their sails into the breath of God and go where God wills, at whatever pace God decides. Wind power – that's how it is when we're born of the Spirit.

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