Reflection Sunday 16 January 2022
Signs – BE AWARE - Spirit at work!
2:11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
The disciples saw the water turned into wine and believed. They saw and they believed. But in John 20:29b-31 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
John’s Gospel is often called the book of signs. Signs do not point to themselves they point beyond themselves in the direction one needs to go in order to get to the place one is seeking. In John these signs point to Jesus, and in believing in Jesus one may have life. These signs point to life, to where life can be found. These signs say, BE AWARE - Spirit at work!
In last week’s reading from John’s Gospel, we read how the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Did the Spirit convey the voice of God? Did the voice of God come on the breath of the Spirit?
The same word pnuema is used in the New Testament Greek for both wind and spirit and in the Old Testament the same Hebrew word Ruach is used for wind and Spirit. Just as sound is carried on the wind, the Spirit brings the word of life to us.
The wind makes no sound, but sounds are made as the wind passes through tree branches and around buildings and through windows. Without breath we would make no audible sound, there would be no voice, no way of communicating with words. As the breath flows from our lungs and passes out through our mouths, we form words and the breath carries the sound on which our thoughts are carried and come into being and are expressed and heard by others.
Many years ago in a theological study group, I discovered that in the act of speaking we formulate what we believe. Our spoken words give voice to what we were previously unable to understand. Our unbelief becomes our belief as the Spirit breathes in us and then out through us, illuminating the mind on the way, forming faith. The Spirit works within us bringing us to believe, taking the hidden Word within us and bringing it into being and to fruition, to life. I was reminded at the time of the verse - if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9).
In the story of the water being changed into wine Jesus speaks the words and the transformation from water to wine takes place. The Spirit creates wine out of water. The Spirit brings about the transformation.
As we read the words of the text today, Be Aware of the Spirit at work. Be open to the work of the Spirit, to take the words we read and bring them alive within us transforming us from unbelief to belief, from death to life.
Wait and listen.
Notice the wind.
Notice your breath.
Notice the effect of your breath creating your voice.
May you be surprised by the Spirit.
Minister of Campsie Earlwood Clemton Park Uniting Church Congregation