Comes a Mighty Wind

Posted on 2024-06-20
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Occasionally, I have noted that our lack of understanding of the customs and mores of Roman-occupied Jerusalem have caused us to dramatically misinterpret the import of many of Jesus’ sayings. Everything He did and said was designed to enhance the dignity of the human person. For example, the Lord said that if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. It helps to know that, because of the shortage of pack animals, Roman military officials were empowered to force random civilians to carry supplies for one mile. Think about it, if you just go the one mile you are a conscript. If you go two miles, you become a volunteer. He also said if anyone sues you to take your coat, give him your cloak, as well. Again, think about it. If a man successfully gets your coat, you are a victim. If you give him your coat and cloak before the case is even heard, you become a philanthropist. Finally, He says if anyone slaps your right cheek to turn the other to him. It helps to know that anyone slapped by an official, Roman or religious, in occupied Jerusalem, was supposed to bow and beg forgiveness, preferably touching their forehead to the ground. Turning the other cheek was not an act of submission, but of passive defiance.

It occurs to me that the very Incarnation, itself, was a profound rebuke to the pagan world. In many, maybe even most, pagan cultures, child sacrifice was a major component of religious practice. Even in pagan Rome, which did not regularly engage in child sacrifice, infanticide was common, often encouraged and, at best, a matter of indifference. Smothering a child at birth or abandoning it to the elements was the Roman way of birth control. When Jesus was born the pagan world lashed out, as Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents. The practice only ended in the century after Christ’s Resurrection – because Christians routinely rescued those infants who were abandoned to the elements. It finally triggered a sense of shame in many Romans as they saw the children they had casually abandoned to death as real people with real personalities. It makes my heart soar to see that many committed Christians today are doing the same thing they did 2,000 years ago – saving babies that the pagan culture around them would casually dispose of. And make no mistake: it is a divine rebuke of our culture now as it was of their culture then.

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The wind, chaff, and evildoers form consistent imagery in Scripture throughout its many Books, Old and New. The wind of the Holy Spirit blows where it will. The wicked may seem to be weighty and ponderous, but they are invariably described as so much chaff to be easily blown away with the first gust of the Holy Spirit moving where it will. The 2nd Psalm derisively mocks the pretensions of secularists who believe themselves to be masters of all they survey.

It seems to me that, at critical times in world history, God acts to set things right. For a time, we know our littleness, calling on Him and giving Him thanks for sustaining and delivering us. At the moment of Incarnation, though less than a handful knew it, a mighty wind was kindled which would rise to transform the world. Those who have convinced themselves of their own primacy – secularists, materialist thinkers, relativist theologians and clerics who mimic a form of religion while denying the power of God – are so much chaff, lacking any root. Those who endeavor to do the will of God as best they can discern it are rooted in God. Even those who know little, but endeavor to do the good as best they can see it, with a rigorous conscience, are so rooted. When the Holy Spirit comes as a mighty wind, the rootless chaff are blown away, while the hearts of those rooted in God are set aflame with love, rising to a great conflagration of Godliness, cleansing the whole earth.

I think that when God sets things right, His tender heart longs for us to serve Him with fidelity out of love and gratitude. And yet, like the ten lepers Jesus healed, only one of us comes back to Him, the rest of us being seduced by the temptations of this world and our own vanity that we have cleansed ourselves. And so, continually, we break God’s heart.

For those, like the one leper, who have endeavored to keep the faith and to give thanks for His blessings, the winds of turmoil and tribulation should not be a fearful thing, but welcomed with glad Allelujahs, for the Holy Spirit is sweeping the world clean once more.

Already, a mighty wind is building force, preparing to sweep the world anew. You can feel it with the young people desperately searching for meaning in a world given over to the pagan priorities of temporal power and influence. Many search for it in sex, drugs, and mindless entertainment, desperately trying to fill the hole in each of our hearts that is reserved for God with mere things, things that can never avail. Let us enflame our hearts with love in preparation for the rising of the wind, not berating the sick for being sick, but showing the genuine joy and healing – and meaning – there is in God. Those who cannot accept that there is anything greater than themselves are the chaff. Let them be blown away. But let us reveal the joy and love that is in Christ for all who will hear it. Let the wind blow!

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A healthy movement is built with addition and multiplication, not division and subtraction. I wish more in modern life understood that. Now that the occupiers of our once-great country have made clear that they are bent on criminalizing all that is conservative, traditional, or Judeo-Christian, it is vital that we all make common cause with each other to renew the liberty and genuine tolerance that once made this the greatest, noblest nation in the history of the world.

I am very excited that at the end of next week, I will be speaking to the good folks at the Minnesota Prepper Expo at the Morrison County Fairgrounds, 15575 Hawthorn Rd., Little Falls, Minnesota 56345. I will speak at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 28-30. I like preppers. They concentrate on real, valuable skills; work with each other and in support of each other; and face adversity with confident aplomb. With that can-do attitude, they are my kind of people. In this great and growing crisis, we need every bit as many people with that attitude as we can get if we are to truly serve as heralds of God’s renewal of the nation and then, the world.

Many among the preppers are leery of religion. Why shouldn’t they be? For a lot of people, their experience with religion has been one of being on the receiving end of sniffy disapproval. All too often we eagerly let people know how they fall short of the glory of God because they do not do the exact, same things as we do. Shoot, I am a moderately prominent Christian evangelist, and I, too, have felt the sniffy disapproval that I don’t do enough devotions or say precisely the same prayers as various people who are preeningly proud of their ponderous piety. Too many are way too eager to bind heavy burdens and lay them on other’s shoulders without doing anything to help. Some of us have forgotten (or never paid much attention to) St. Paul’s discourse on the many parts of the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). What we are called to do is live our calling as best we can while helping others live theirs without the hubris of judging them by how closely their spiritual life resembles our own – as if any of us could be God’s mini-me.

I like people who do things. I like people who share the humble little piece they put together with those around them. I like people who laugh and live life as the great horn of plenty it is. I look for the virtue in everyone I meet – and I rejoice in that virtue, for it is Godliness, whether the virtuous one realizes it yet or not. I have a few virtues and a lot of shortcomings – and so I like to surround myself with people who make up for the virtues I lack, that we might make common cause with each other.

I will share with these folks the many, earthy things and practical skills our magnificent teams at CORAC have developed and shared. I will ask them for help in building the coalition that will renew the things that made America good for all and, thus, great for all. I will share with them the joy and help that is in Christ and the great virtue and Godliness that is in their commitment to support and build each other up.

I ask for your prayers for these fine folks and for me as we work to make America good again and make America Godly again – which will truly make America great again. And if you’re near central Minnesota, come on by. Time to work on our addition and multiplication skills.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

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The Corps of Renewal and Charity (CORAC)

18208 Preston Rd., Ste. D9-552

Dallas, Texas 75252

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