Skip to main content

Contagious Spirit (John 3:1-21)



Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - Genesis 2:7

I remember the day my daughter was born.  They were moments from doing a cesarean section but her mother had dilated just enough so that when they came in to roll her away they decided she could have a natural birth instead.  After a long and scary process I watched as the doctor held my daughter, her breathless form before us.  I was terrified.  The nurse was cleaning her off and I watched, forgetting to breath myself.  Then, all of a sudden a cry came, the breath had come into her lungs from nowhere, and I felt myself gasp as my own breath returned.

Our reading this week is from John 3:1-21.  Jesus has a fascinating late night conversation with one of the Jewish leaders.  He tells Nicodemus that a person must be born again, born of Spirit, before they may enter the Kingdom of God.  Nicodemus was confused..."how can a person be born again?  Are we to crawl back in?", but Jesus was talking about a different kind of reality.  Jesus explained that: "like the wind is not seen but has a great force, so is the reality of the Spirit".  

To grapple with this text, you first need to know that the word for "Spirit" means "breath".  When God breathed life into Adam, he was "born" of the Spirit, a living being.  Later in our story Jesus will breathe into the disciples and they will come alive in a new way too.

Are you born again?  Are you born of Spirit?  Have you breathed in the breath of Christ?

In the world of the COVID pandemic we are cautious with what we breathe in.  We are worried that we might catch something.  We know the power of a contagion to change us.  But what if that contagion is Life instead of death?  Think of the people that you know who are full of the Spirit, full of life, love, and joy!  Is it not infectious just being around them?  It's not something you can see in a microscope like a virus.  It is more like the wind, invisible but powerful.  It is not something that you have to take your mask off to catch, simply being in community and communion with someone who has it will expose you.  I bet you know a few people who are clearly infected with the Spirit of Christ, whoever they are, get closer to them.  Watch them.  Do what they do.  Then, when you have caught it, when you are full of life and light, don't hold it in, but spread it to others and watch breathlessly as you wait for the Spirit to cry out, the joy of new life!

God, help us to spread the Spirit of Christ to those around us.  Help us to embody and live out the fruits of love, peace, and joy.  Help us to spread those values in a world that is clearly trying to spread something different.  Give us the strength to go against the current when we need to.  Draw people to us that will help us by being strong when we are weak, and let us not forget to hold them up when we are strong and they are weak.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Prayer Part 2 of 4

  This is the second of four weeks the narrative lectionary is focusing on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4.  This week we are focusing on the second section: "Give us this day our daily bread." At the time and place that Jesus said this, bread was the center of every meal.  To his people, it had a long history of being a symbol for God's provision.  It was often used to refer to any meal or food, and in this case Jesus expands it to represent all of our needs.   A long time ago, in a place that had been ravaged with war, orphanages were overwhelmed with children.  In one of the facilities, the relief workers noted that the children had trouble falling asleep each night.  They struggled with anxiety, wondering if they would have food for the next day.  Their lack of sleep led to more anxiety and a troubling downward spiral of their mental and physical health.  In an effort to meet their needs the workers tried something new one night.  As they tucked each chi