United Church of Christ

Holy Invitations

Jesus said, “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.” - John 3:7-8

Late night conversations go places that can’t be reached in the brightness of the morning or the bustle of the afternoon.

Like sitting together after a holiday feast, after our bellies were sated and our bodies near slumber, when a friend put on a rare old album, and conversation dove deep until 2 a.m. The full meal, the long day, led to the moment when our defenses were relaxed enough for beauty to find a way inside us, and our spirits allowed a tender confidence.

Perhaps that’s the hour for reading Jesus’ teaching for Nicodemus. “Don’t be surprised when I tell you that what is most real, most connected with the life-giving breath of Holy One is all around you, is with you now, ready to carry you to fullness of life.”

Jesus connects the hovering spirit of creation with the pregnancy of the deep-night encounter.

The moment triggers a memory of a fragment of song: “Oh how I love the wind: so free to be just what it is!” The hushed wonder of the dark may allow us to understand a new dimension of God’s truth.

Be born from above: remember and reclaim the essence of the one who made you to be eternally you. Be exactly who and what you are, by grace: Beloved.

Prayer

Holy One, make me ready today and tonight for the conversation in which you will send a holy invitation: to be wholly alive, utterly open to you.

About the Author
John A. Nelson is Pastor and Teacher of Church on the Hill, UCC, in Lenox, Massachusetts.

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