A WINDY THUNDERSTORM blew in late Monday night. It knocked out our electrical power until about 3 AM.
We don’t have a backup battery for our sump pump. But I plugged the sump pump into the battery backup I use for my computer, and it worked just fine.
Buddy the Dog, however, was inconsolable.
He had been sleeping in front of the television when the power went out. He woke up to pitch black silence.
He went to the kitchen door that leads out into our enclosed garage. I tried to lure him away but he clearly wanted to go out there. So I opened the door. He went out and hid. I have never seen him do anything like that.
When we eventually managed to lure him back into the house we took him downstairs to the family room in the basement. My wife and I needed to be there to keep an eye on the sump pump. Oddly, Buddy cowered and hid in the small bathroom we have down there. He spent the entire night sleeping there. That is not a place he has ever rested.
Weather was all clear the next morning. When I took him for a walk, we passed a man taking a chainsaw to his busted pear tree. His next-door neighbor told me the tree sounded like it exploded. I didn’t see any burn marks from lightning. Strong winds may have twisted it apart.
Our prairie wind in Tornado Alley is powerful and unpredictable. That makes it unsettling for anyone with the sense of a dog. We would love to steer the wind away. Sometimes it’s anything but welcome.
Isn’t it odd that Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind?
“The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going” (John 3:8).
When Jesus said that, he was making a play on words. His words for “Spirit” and “wind” are the same in the Greek language of the New Testament: pneuma. That’s the word from which we get “pneumatic” tools, which are tools powered by air pressure.
Bible experts debate what Jesus meant when he compared the Holy Spirit to wind.
One popular guess is that we have absolutely no control over where the Spirit shows up or what the Spirit does – no more control than we have over the wind.
I’m not sure what were supposed to do with that. But I wonder about it.
When we meet together in worship, I know that pastors try to create an atmosphere conducive to the Spirit – they would like very much to say the right words and sing the right songs and recite the perfect prayer.
But we can’t put the Holy Spirit on the church bulletin and expect him to show up on time.
He has his own schedule.
I attend a church that has three worship services on Sunday. Same sermon in every service. Same songs. Same prayers.
Not the same response.
From one service to the next, the preacher and the singers have no idea what to expect.
In one service the people may be enthused and inspired—clapping happy. Yet folks in the worship service an hour later may seem comparatively stupefied.
We can try to whip up the Wind. But the Wind comes when the Wind comes.
Our job, perhaps, is to be ready to sail.
I’m just thinking out loud again.