Rising Leader Series: Week 7 - Holy Winds
Updated: Feb 25
WHAT FINE LEADERSHIP
Ironic what fine leader skills it took--
to mechanize destruction of our seas,
to slash for coal 'til Appalachia shook,
to make the Amazon more forest-free.
To capture darker passions at the polls,
to demonize the other in our midst,
to undermine those seeking common goals,
to counter outstretched hand with shaking fist.
Imagine what fine leaders it will take
to bridge delusions keeping us estranged,
to slow sweet sphere’s slide with heavy brake,
to mobilize vast system counterchange.
O Spirit God from whom all blessings flow,
May holy winds right through Your children blow!
Today’s world doesn’t create much time or space for soul cultivation. We spin around like perpetual motion machines, rarely slowed by a reflective thought. From first awake moment to first drift into sleep, we dog-paddle down an endless river of digital distractions: texts, Facebook messages, TikTok posts, tweets, breaking news. Our crowded calendars cause us to fly in a fluster from pillar to post. At work, efficiency, productivity and pragmatism reign. If ever surprised by a brief moment of downtime, cheap experiences lure. No church on Sundays-- too many distractions. No morning prayer-- our phones beckon with new nuggets of nothingness. And so we drift aimlessly along-- floating away from the quiet, away from the sacred, away from soul work, away from our true selves, away from Spirit God.
I myself have spent long periods caught up in that river. With ego distracted, my soul is left untended and unexplored. It grows covered in weeds and thorn bushes. Pathways through the tangles become ever more impassable. I become preoccupied, self-centered, caught up in obsessions, less capable of serving others.
We can't expect some lifesaver to suddenly appear in the water. Weekly church, daily prayer, solitary meditation? No community norms exist anymore to encourage these. It's on us to turn back to God. My return to sacred shores begins when I sense a light tug of holy longing on my heart. A spark of honest reflection flickers. I become conscious of an emptiness, and I pay attention to that tug. And so it will be with you. You'll begin to fight the current; you'll struggle towards the shore where Spirit God awaits. Don’t worry– He will see your thrashings and come to your aid:
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”-- Romans 8:26
Time and again, the Holy Spirit has come to me in the symbol of wind. He came in a storm when I was twenty years old, as lightning struck me to the ground unconscious– a dramatic prompt to a big life reassessment. He appeared to me in a whisper on a faith retreat, softly saying, “I forgive you.” He came to me as my father neared death, a light breeze of peace: “Do not worry. He is with Me.” And he comes to me now in this moment as I write to you, in gentle breath, as my grateful lungs fill with the mystery of His love. Storm, whisper, breeze, breath– all are manifestations of the Spirit in wind.
Rising leader, can you open yourself to the Holy Spirit, coming to you in a storm, a whisper, a breeze, a breath? This can only happen if you create time for God. This is the first step in a life of piety. If you open yourself up, Spirit wind will blow into your life. With a gust, some weeds and thorn bushes may uproot and fly away, clearing your view. You will see your path as it twists and turns into the distance. With new eyes, you’ll discover that it leads right back home, back to where you started, back to your original goodness, back to God.
Our time with God is important for our souls, but it’s also a vital aspect of leadership formation. If we are to stay on the goodness path and not fall back into the river of distraction, we must welcome each new day as sacred. We must be reminded of our connectedness to all things and all people. In time spent together with God, alone and in a church community, we live the discipline of piety– and by doing so, we sanctify our day. We become open to metaphor. Soul and Spirit in communion, we feel the roar, hear the whispers, and sense the breath of everlasting Life within us. We become grateful. We begin to think of ourselves less, without thinking less of ourselves. In piety, day by day, blessing by blessing, we become ever more ready to lead in service of others.
Next week, let’s refresh ourselves with a deep dive into cool, healing waters.
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”-- Job 33:4
Previous Weeks' Letters: