The wind is blowing through the garden, making the apple trees rustle and sigh, tugging at the tomato plants and sending a shiver through the beans as they cling to their canes. One can see why wind is used as an image of God. It is powerful, mysterious, uncontrollable. We see its effects, but cannot trace its source. It shifts and changes according to its own inner dynamic, not our preferences. Perhaps that is why so many people are afraid of God. He is the ultimate mystery: powerful, unpredictable, inescapable.

Friday is a good day for reminding ourselves of the human face of God. Jesus Christ, with arms nailed to the Cross in an everlasting embrace, is surely not a terrifying vision; and yet, as Julian of Norwich mentioned in her Revelations, there is still that wind: the dry wind that passed over Calvary and parched the skin of Christ as he hung dying. If we think we have got God ‘taped’, if we think we understand, we are very much mistaken.


7 thoughts on “Wind”

  1. The term ‘God Fearing’ is one that is used quite often.

    But we are not called to fear him, but to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind and body – surely that is because his love is unstinting and eternal for us, we should do no less.

    I don’t fear God, but I do have a healthy respect for his power, wonder and infinite ‘otherness’ which I can’t hope to comprehend, but just believe and have faith in.

  2. I must gently disagree with you, Ernie. We are called to fear God, but not with the craven, abject terror of the slave, but with the reverent fear of a beloved child. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, a phrase St Benedict very much took to heart.

    • Dame Catherine, thank you for drawing my attention to the difference. Perhaps I was reflecting the current trend in the world not to revere anything or anyone in pursuit of a consumerist selfishness 🙁

      But I accept that what you say is quite right – I just got it wrong.

      I wonder if my experience of so many years of military life in a position of authority, where respect was given due to your rank or position, but reverence was absent, unless you had a really charismatic leader. Most of us were quite run of the mill really in comparison to them.

      Also, perhaps my church going habits have changed due to that prolonged absence, where the things learned in childhood were abandoned or lost due to lack of use.

      All the signs of reverence are there, but Anglicans do and see things a little differently from those things that I learned and did habitually as a Catholic. But they are not entirely redundant and there are some of us who make the sign of the cross, bow appropriately and even one or two who genuflect.

    • Indeed…
      This fear of God, so essential to a meaningful spiritual life, is not the same as morbid dread. We might feel dread and fear if we are threatened by a cruel and dangerous situation or person .But fear of God—or godly fear—is awe and profound reverence and for God, in all aspects .. It also involves healthful fear or displeasure at the thought of displeasing God because he is the Supreme Judge and the Almighty.

  3. And in a slightly off topic comment, relating to wind. A gentle breeze, as you describe, can be a thing of joy and inspiration. Out here though, the wind can sweep down off the Rockies, and once it hits out of the foothills, there’s little to stop it. It can, and often does blow for days at a time, anywhere from 60-80 kilometres an hour. A few hours south of us, it’s not uncommon for winds to run to 100 kilometres per hour. Highways are often closed due to extreme winds in that area.
    It can, when it blows like that, get on one’s nerves. A country song writer once described those relentless winds as ” … the soul stealing kind..”
    “Too much damn wind, and not enough whiskey” – an old cowboy curse out here, followed by “…and chores at 20 below”, as the response.

  4. I wonder if many of the people who say they do not believe in God or “religion” are in fact experiencing a fear of God but denying it or interpreting it as a negative feeling. The mysteries surrounding God are a wonderful gift if you see them in the correct light but must seem daunting if presented as something confusing/damaging. God should disturb us – we are not supposed to stay the same as we are. If only we could remember that this process might be difficult but is the very reason for our existence!

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