3:7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 

I sense sadness in Jesus’ question to Nicodemus. How is it possible that “you a teacher of Israel”, have so lost touch with the content of your faith, that you are unable to discern the blowing of the Spirit as it blows in your life?

In Jesus, Nicodemus is confronted by the embodiment of God’s Spirit. He is faced with the truth, light and beauty of God’s Presence. But, even though something has stirred in his heart, Nicodemus remains unable to grasp the deeper reality to which his entire life has been pointing.

Part of the problem of course, is that the Spirit is blowing outside the prescribed parameters of the tradition Nicodemus has been taught to revere and honour for his entire life. Jesus is not a Scribe, not a Pharisee, not a recognized teacher of the law. He has no standing, no title in his religious tradition. Jesus is an outlier. How could the Spirit possibly be at work in this renegade who appeared to be pushing the boundaries of Jewish tradition beyond anything Nicodemus had been taught to anticipate?

How often do I “hear the sound” of the wind but fail to perceive the “wind” that “blows where it chooses” because it is not blowing in the direction or in the way that I anticipate God should be at work? What does it take for me to be able to move outside the comfortable boundaries I have erected around God’s work?

What fears, dogmas and rigidities keep me locked into patterns that inhibit the free working of God’s Spirit? What will it take for me to loosen the bounds by which I seek to control the Spirit that “blows where it chooses” whether or not this fits comfortably with my view of how God should be at work?