Sometimes you just have to let go...

I threw out my prepared Trinity Sunday notes this morning after reading the gospel according to St. John... Sometimes you just have to let go and follow the Spirit, yeah?  It just seemed like the right thing to do so I asked the folk, "Has anyone here ever felt God's spirit from above alive in your heart or lives?"  The text was clear:

There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it." Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom."

"How can anyone," said Nicodemus, "be born who has already been born and grown up? You can't re-enter your mother's womb and be born again. What are you saying with this 'born-from-above' talk?" Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.

"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God." And Nicodemus asked, "What do you mean by this? How does this happen?"

So I asked:  have you experienced - known - encountered this power from above that Jesus is referencing in today's gospel reading.  Some clearly had - so I continued noting that if some had, then others hadn't - and why is that?  Sometimes we're too damn busy.  Other times we're such control junkies that we push the Spirit away.  And then there are the times we obsess and embrace only our wounds - define all of creation by our failings or pain - but refuse to let God bring healing.  "All of these acts," I suggested, "keep us from experiencing the promised love from above.  So is that what you want?  To lock the blessings of the Holy Spirit out of your lives...?"

Then two suggestions popped up:  First, if you haven't known or trusted God's Spirit in your lives, maybe now is the time to make that a priority.  Other things can wait - maybe this is the time to let down your defenses and trust that God will come to you just as you need God - so what do you have to lose? Second, if you have already known that love and power from above, maybe now is a good time to ask how are you letting it lead?  "Our only task," you see, "is to follow.  We're not in charge. We're disciples.  There is already One God and One Lord - that job is already taken - but followers... disciples... Christ still is calling us to pick up the Cross and follow."

From time to time I have learned I just have to toss away my prepared material and go with what the Spirit is saying to my heart.  And most of the time this let's me get out of the way long enough for the Spirit to speak to the congregation in ways I would never have imagined.  Like the story says at the end:   God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. Christ came to help, to put the world right again. And anyone who trusts in God is acquitted.

Thanks be to God.


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