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Born of the Wind

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

How do you find a word that means Maria?

A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the-wisp! A clown!


The Sound of Music nuns are confounded. Maria – undisciplined, free as the wind – is everything the Nonnberg Abbey is not.


When I’m with her I’m confused, out of focused and bemused

And I never know exactly where I am.

Unpredictable as weather, she’s as flighty as a feather.

She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!


Climbing trees, scraping knees, teaching children to sing and making clothes for them out of old curtains – this is how Maria rolls. For Maria, the hills and indeed the whole world is alive. She is as erratic as leaves floating from trees in a stiff autumn breeze, and it sends everyone around her reeling.   


I have been thinking about Maria lately because I have been reading Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, in the Gospel of John. Nicodemus is a religious leader of good standing. But he is thirsty for more. So, by the cover of night, he seeks out Jesus.


And Jesus tells him things that are confounding and confused. For example, that one can only enter the kingdom of God by first being “born of water and wind.” He goes on to talk about the wind, which “blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” Be one that is born of the wind, says Jesus.


The Greek word used, pneuma, not only means ‘wind’, but also ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’. But today I’m curious about the idea of wind, and what it means to be a person who is born of the wind.


How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?


We often think of God as rock, as the very ground of our being; that which is dependable, solid. But could God also be water and wind: a wave that can never be kept upon the sand, in the words of the nuns, or a cloud that floats in the sky and refuses to be pinned down?


What if God is both? Both as sturdy and solid as the earth beneath our feet, and as fluid and changing as water and wind?


And if so, what might this wind-God call us to? Can we feel the tug of Maria?

Words by Rev Andreana

Image by Sarah J. Poe, Flickr (Creative Commons licence)

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