The Pneumatology of Popcorn Twigs

High winds tore through here recently. Not for the first time this spring, and perhaps not for the last. The earlier winds took most of the heavy branches down already, so these were left with smaller bits of tree and leaf to deposit on the roads and bike paths.

As I drove to the gym in the dark, I could see the swaying trees and hear the wind whistling through the branches. Then I turned down one street and heard popcorn.

That percussive rat-a-tat-tat of popcorn popping in the microwave was all around. My headlights splayed across the road in front of me revealed not bags of corn ready to be zapped, but tiny twigs, thousands of them, all across the road for as far as I could see. My tires rolled over them, throwing them up to the undercarriage beneath my feet where they smacked and broke and … well, they popped.

Rat-a-tat-tat.

The Effect of the Wind

Jesus tells us that the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is like wind:

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3:8.)

The very words in the Bible translated as “Spirit” remind us of the wind. The Hebrew word ruach (used in Psalm 51:11) is equivalent to our word wind, and the Greek word pneuma (see, for example, Matthew 1:18) is breath. So in English we translate these as “Spirit” when they are used in the Old and New Testaments in reference to God.

Even those who have spent decades studying God’s word, praying in fellowship with him, walking in ways that show God to others, find this to be a hard concept.

Can you see God, have you ever seen Him? I’ve never seen the wind. I’ve seen the effects of the wind, but I’ve never seen the wind. There’s a mystery to it. (Billy Graham.)

There’s a mystery to it. But mystery does not equal fallacy. There’s a mystery to many things we deal with, yet we deal with them just the same. Love, hate, laughter, tears – all of them are inexplicable. But we live our lives in ways that reflect the reality of them.

I’d like to live my life in a way that reflects the reality of God. I am glad that the Spirit of Christ lives that reality in me every moment and for eternity.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Pneumatology of Popcorn Twigs

  1. Aimee Byrd says:

    Part of the mystery of both the wind and the Spirit is how powerful it is and how we cannot control it. It demands our respect.

    • Tim says:

      Demand respect is a great way to put it, Aimee. Just last night the wind knocked down some power lines near us. Imagine what the Holy Spirit can do throughout Creation.

  2. Okay.. I’m sorry… I know this is a VERY serious blog post… and some good reflections…

    But you’re talking about wind… and there was this guy who recently talked about a different sort of …wind…in the Bible… and I really am having a hard time not snickering like the 10-year-old boy I am inside…

    • Tim says:

      No need to apologize … I’m right there with you!

      • janehinrichs says:

        I’m a bit ashamed to say that that was what came to my mind when I read wind too but I thought — well, we could even apply the Spirit to that…..all sorts of analogies….I can’t believe I even admitted this. My youngest son would be laughing really hard at his mom who is thinking of stinkers if he was here!!

        • Tim says:

          Your family probably laughs a lot with you, Jane. And maybe at you at times too, but that’s only because you have a loving family!

    • Jeannie says:

      You people are so immature … no wait, actually I thought the same thing. 🙂

  3. Jeannie says:

    But seriously … the last couple of days I was thinking about freedom, and it seems to me that is one of the Spirit’s greatest gifts. When I attended the Anglican church we used to sing this song called (I admit it) “Wind, Wind”, which was about the Spirit; and the last verse was “Set us free to love each other/Set us free to live for others/That the world the Son might see/and Jesus’ Name exalted be.” That came to mind as a result of my thoughts about freedom and your post today.

    • Tim says:

      I’m glad you shared those thoughts too, Jeannie. The Spirit sets us free in ways we could never imagine possible, all to glorify God.

  4. nmcdonal says:

    Love the literary touch, Tim. Great visuals.

  5. Lesley says:

    I’m just reading this post after returning from church. Our pastor talked about 1 Thessalonians 1 during his sermon (your work produced by faith… vs 3). He mentioned that we can’t see electricity but we can feel it. Faith is similar. We may not be able to see the Holy Spirit. Faith is blind in many ways, be we can FEEL the Spirit and His power over our life just like we can feel the shock of electricity. Similar concept to Billy Graham’s quote. Love it.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Lesley. Your pastor’s illustration fits right in with the metaphor for the Holy Spirit’s power, It’s funny how that power is unseen in it’s work yet seen in its works.

  6. Excellent.
    I really want to eat popcorn now though. . .and I want to play with twigs too. . .and have more taste of the Spirit too . haha.

Talk to me (or don't)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.