Theoretically, I’m a grown man. And yet I’m afraid. When I’m walking alone and the breeze suddenly quickens, fear awakens in me. The grass blades bow low like reverent, pagan slaves. The unconnected debris is caught up and scattered like so many prescient tramps. When the wind comes faster, and the tree limbs yield to the point of snapping, I want to run. Is there a ghost in the wind? Is he angry? May be.
Is there magic in the wind? I think so. Enlightenment, be hanged.
It was there in the beginning. The Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters in creation, like the Spirit of God would hover over humble Mary and recreate everything in the waters of her womb. The wind is alive, for it is spirit. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Hebrew words for spirit, wind, and breath are all the same word (though with wide meaning variations). Same goes for Greek. Try reading John 3 (or all of John) and think about all the double-meanings as Jesus talks about those born of the spirit, who are like the wind. Where is he from? Galilee? Where is the wind from? Half the time people are wondering where he’s from, where he is, and where he’s going. He is the one born of the wind (Spirit). He is from the sky (same word for heaven) and his father, the Sky God, approves of him. He is the Master of the Wind, and the Sea. He will crush the dragon.
The story goes that God made man out of dust, then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The breath of God, the life of man. Dust to dust. We die when we stop breathing, or when the breath of God leaves us. Wind. Spirit. Breath. Life.
I suppose I only want to say that if you at times feel there is magic in the wind, believe it.
There is no stranger fairy tale than the true tale of God’s created and sustained world. Try to invent wonder beyond the story he is telling and you will be checked. Truth actually is stranger than fiction. It is an incredible deception that sustains a disbelief in magic. Thomas Jefferson may cut as many Bibles to shreds as he wishes, editing out the silly parts, but miracles cannot be so easily excised. The earth is a wizard’s tent, teeming with potions and enchantments.
Do we need to stretch our imaginations to see the unseen wonder of the world, especially the world to come? Yes, we do. We need an enchantment to break the spell of the dogmatic disbelief of our age. But this disbelief is not even fully rational. Imagine telling some one about the world who had never seen it.
“You see, we put seeds –like little babies of a plant– into the ground. We water them, or the Sky God sends rain. He sends sunshine as well and, sometime later, our food grows out of the dirt.”
Is it any stranger that we ourselves came from dirt?
The world is already magical.
Every beanstalk is magic. And every Jack is immortal. Why search for the goose that lays golden eggs, when it’s amazing enough they lay eggs at all? Or, hey, why not? Look for the golden eggs. I’ve seen stranger things. Kisses cause cradles. Because of all that is, I’m prepared to believe a lot that is (apparently) not.
I urge you to disbelieve the disbelief that surrounds us like an evil fog. Disbelieve the sneering comics who cynically dismiss magic and sincerity. Disbelieve the desperate scolds who preach the impossible tale of Godless good. Disbelieve the doubting part of your heart.
Surrender to wonder. Jesus is its maker and master.
When the wind picks up, maybe it’s not the wrong kind of fear I experience. Maybe it’s sudden, unstoppable humility before the untamed world and its wild God.
The sage of Ecclesiastes calls us to, “Fear God and keep his commands,” and elsewhere to, “Follow your heart.” It is good to lay hold of one and not neglect the other.
Note: Not to implicate them in my buffoonery, but along these lines I owe much to G.K. Chesterton (especially Orthodoxy) and N.D. Wilson (Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl).