Walls.  They are all around us.  Some famous, some not.  Some of the more famous are the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.  Some of the less famous walls are my backyard fence.  But all walls do the same thing.  Keep people out. Keep people at a distance.  But in the end walls keep me safe.

The Christian landscape is filled with walls.  Some are decorative thorn filled hedges called theology.  Some are a little more obvious like the brick walls of denominationalism.  But the truly flesh ripping coiled barbed wire wall of when someone leaves us.  Leaves our support group because they fell in love(even though we know they need more healing), leaves the tight knit group of office comrades to pursue a different job because of bigger dreams and goals(even though we know he will be disappointed with his new job), or leaves our church.

When someone leaves us, the first human reaction is to protect.  To protect ourselves and those around us.  The most obvious way to protect is to build a wall.  Walls of isolation and disconnection.

Jesus speaks about walls I believe in his discussion with Nicodemus.  Nicodemus is dumbfounded at the teaching of Jesus that one would have to be reborn.  Reborn?  Come on Nicodemus would retort.  Impossible!  Not even close to reality.  You can’t fit a grown man into the womb again.  It is simply preposterous talk.

Yet Jesus does not back away from his statement.  He then brings the picture of the wind and says “You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.  You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.”

We along with Nicodemus, start with the visible and try to move to the invisible.  Jesus asks us to start with the invisible and have the invisible move us to the visible.

When we start with the visible, things just don’t make sense.  The folks that have just left the church have hurt us and damaged my feelings.  My work companion has just abandoned me to pursue his dreams.  So the walls of resentment, abandonment and hopelessness get erected.  And we, just like Nicodemus say, we don’t get it, we don’t understand.  And to understand the circumstances in any other way is impossible.

Then tucked in and fortified behind our newly constructed emotional walls of defense we feel something against our face.  It is the wind.  The breeze grazes our skin in a way of refreshment and hope.  In the breeze there is the aroma of love and mercy.  So we are compelled to find its source. To search for the invisible source of life.  So we stumble from our crumpled state and take a brick or two from the wall.  We see nothing.  But the wind is getting stronger.  So we remove some more bricks.  By now we clearly see that the breeze has turned into a wind and has turned from coming over the wall to now almost pushing the wall over.  And as the invisible source of power and my visible hands work together in a heaven and earth symphony, my wall comes tumbling down.

What do I see?  I see my friends who just left the church.  Their faces look wind whipped and red as well.  They stand before a rubble of wall as well, but the rubble is from their wall and not mine.  We both stumble across the strewn emotional wreckage of rock, brick and stone looking for the source of the wind.  It is there in the midst of fallen walls and broken dreams, where their wall and mine are so intermixed that to set clear lines is now impossible.

The unseen wind has moved us from the invisible to the visible.

Clearly set walls and lines, clearly crumbled.

The wind moves freely in whatever way He wants.

And there, somehow, to bring togetherness; amidst ruin, chaos,and…

Wait, the gentle breeze is rising again…