Rising early, I put on my sweatpants and slippers and slip out of the bedroom hoping not to disturb Alessandra. I go into the kitchen and turn on the coffeemaker (which Alessandra has graciously prepared the night before) and pour some orange juice and water in a glass.
Outside the sky is just light enough to see the outline of trees in our yard as the bright moon begins its journey into the horizon. Is that Venus shining next to the moon?
I take my coffee (having finished my orange juice/water) and sit outside on the back deck. I sit and look around as the sky begins to get a little brighter before the Sun makes its entrance. I sit. Look and then close my eyes. I hear an orchestra of bird sounds – all up and down the scale, high notes, low notes, wobbly notes, woodpecker poundings, all mixing together. Beauty and wonder, awe and life giving.
I am filled with this sense of Beauty and Awe. Of Wonder and Life. The occasional car goes by in the early morning. At first it seems an interruption in the reveille of life sounds, but then I realize that a human being is driving that car; life, a pounding heart, full of human character.
All these sounds and thoughts fill me with hope and despair. The divisiveness that seems to surround us now crumbles me momentarily into a pit of despair. But, then the sounds of the birds, the quiet rustle of leaves and the beauty of the trees, the grasses and bushes that bring life to our lives bursts forth and buries the despair for the moment. The ongoing action of the Holy Spirit is there for all.
I like NPR (yes, there is a link here to my theme!) and public radio for its news, music and conversation. But there is a message now touting their morning podcast, called First Up, or something like that. They speak about the rush of the morning, hardly having time to dress before your busy day begins. (I am sure all news stations have a podcast similar to like this.) They talk about being hurried. Do not let the busyness of the day get ahead of you. But, not one word about the need to breathe in the Beauty of Life, to listen for the bird songs, to listen for the quiet rustle of the leaves gently moving in a soft early morning breeze. Some days the sounds of nature will be different, but always the sounds are of God’s creation moving in us and around us. The wind, the movement, the Heart of Creation is upon us all the time.
For many years I have pondered the words of Jesus from John 3: 7-8 “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.” (The Message) The wind of God, the Holy Spirit, the Force of Beauty and Awe, the Movement of Love – this is that wind that blows this way and that all around us all the time. For those who do listen, who are still and quiet even for a few moments, may sense, hear, feel and be touched by that wind of Joy, Love, Hope and Wonder.
We do not know where the wind comes from or where it may blow. That perhaps is the Mystery of God, the boundlessness of Wonder and Beauty. Wherever we are, country, suburbs, urban we can be still, quiet and listen for the wind of the Holy, the awe filled power of the Universe formed in Love and Wonder.
Eugene Peterson wrote as he discerned the scripture – “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. We need to escape from this world, ‘so to speak’ and listen to the clouds, the bird songs, the rustle of the leaves and gaze inward and outward recognizing the awe filled Beauty of Life.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; (NRSV) Wow! That makes me sing, my bones to cry out in mystery and joy and hope!
Because of my upbringing as a Christian Christ Jesus is paramount, my Lord. But, through the years I have come upon people from all walks of life and other traditions who live the Gospel in word and deed. The Prophets of the Hebrew Bible, The Buddha, The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, The Prophet, Rumi, St. Francis, John of the Cross, Mother Teresa, Catherine of Siena, Henri Nouwen, Gerald May, Teresa of Avila, Desmond Tutu, Thomas Keating, Tilden Edwards – the list is fortunately very long! Surround yourself with these folks!
They each, within their traditions instruct us to find that Peace which lies within ourselves from the beginning. Life is in us and around us. (Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing…. I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. (John 15, The Message)
Isn’t that just a Beautiful! and Meaningful metaphor! Having an intimate relationship with Christ leads us to fulfill our journey in this world. Making my Home in Christ! We can be a part of The Kingdom of God here on earth if only we take the time to worship – alone and in community, intentionally being in pray and meditation, being still and silent and having open hearts and minds and practicing Kindness and Goodness.
May we abide in the Holy Wind of Beauty and Goodness.
Grace and Peace, Bruce