Friday of Trinity – John 3:1-17

 1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

 16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Have you ever had the Holy Spirit shock you? I have heard great wisdom come from the mouth of a child. A homeless guy once expressed the doctrine of justification to me with an eloquence and profundity which I never seem to be able to muster. A Mormon woman once asked me a question which haunted me for months.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit blows where and when he wants. I had a professor in seminary who had been a missionary to New Guinea in the 1960’s. One summer he baptized 6,000 people. I have known others who have baptized hundreds on a single day. I have never seen such events in my ministry. I rejoice to have a baptism scheduled for later this summer as a young woman in the parish is expecting a baby. That is the first one is some time. I am not sure I would know what to do with 400 baptismal candidates. I would like to find out though.

The Holy Spirit does not follow my directions or pay any attention to the boundaries which I think he ought to follow. The wild-eyed preacher of ecstatic holiness down the street might also be a conduit of the same Spirit who comforts my parishioners in the solemnity of liturgy and Eucharistic meals. I must let go of this Spirit. I cannot hold Him.

For Nicodemus that meant losing the idea that only those who understood the Torah as he did were really in the kingdom. This strange Rabbi from Nazareth might be speaking the truth, might in fact be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. By the end of the Gospel of John, Nicodemus has shown up again, with Joseph of Arimathea, to claim and bury the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. The man who came in the dark of night showed up in broad daylight to stand up for the crucified that day. The Spirit blows in strange places. Where do you see him blowing today?

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