God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8 (CEB)
This week, I flew a kite in worship.
I wasn’t expecting to do this. I went down to the scheduled worship on the beach expecting to find some chairs and maybe a drum or guitar. But instead, I found a place to take off my shoes and the prompting to head out towards the beach to a number of worship stations. I shook a noisemaker, walked a sand labyrinth, contributed to a community sand castle, drew a heart in the sand, threw a stone into the ocean – and flew a kite.
I wasn’t going to fly the kite. It seemed a little silly and I’m really not that playful. But I was here to learn something new about who God is calling the Church to be, and so fly a kite I would.
I clearly did not enter this worship station with the expectation of encountering the Living God. I had three kites to choose from and decided to wait for the butterfly.
Because we were standing on the beach, there was a reliable wind. Unlike my past experience in the fields of the Midwest where you need to run for a mile and then let the kite get really high, these kites were flying only about 20 feet from the ground. This was a new experience.
God was doing a new thing.
If I have told you about earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? – John 3:12 (CEB)
When the kite is close to you, you can’t just stand there holding the string and ignore the kite. While the breeze was reliable, it was also unpredictable. One moment it would be coming strong and the next it was like the ocean took a breath and shifted which way it was blowing. I had to pay attention to the kite.
I also couldn’t just stand there. Being that close to the kite with a reliably unpredictable breeze, one moment I was holding the string taught and the next I was giving it some slack. I didn’t control what the kite did; the kite acted and I responded.
I couldn’t even stand still. I needed to shift to the right or lean back in response to what the kite was doing. I needed to pay attention, and I needed to be nimble in my response.
Occasionally the kites hit the ground. I managed to keep mine in the air, but only because it had my full attention. It would be easy to let your focus wander when the kite seemed to be flying effortlessly in the ocean breeze. But when you felt it dive to the ground, you could focus nowhere else – unless you wanted the kite to stay in the ground. But that’s not where a kite belongs. When a kite did crash, someone helped the flyer by picking it up – it’s a two-person job to launch a kite – and releasing it back into the air. And once again the kite was dancing in the air.
God is doing a new thing.
How close are we? Are we paying attention? Are we responding? Are we nimble? Are we doing it together? Are we participating in the dance or merely watching from the sidelines?
Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?
I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness. – Isaiah 43:19 (CEB)