August 12, 2010

Harvesting the Wind

                My recent travels have taken me through southwestern Kansas where the wind farms are plentiful.  Planted in acres and acres of the high plains, these huge whirring turbines are harvesting the wind, a renewable resource.  Driving through the Gray County Wind Farm near Montezuma, the largest in Kansas, I marveled at these towers which are 217 feet high, with 77 feet long blades.  Only when we pass big trucks with “oversize load” signs on them do we get a sense of the magnitude of these structures. This farm alone, with its 170 “windmills,” produces enough electricity to power 33,000 homes.  This an impressive engineering feat, to be sure.  Because the average wind speed is approximately 20 miles per hour, rarely are the blades still.  I respect this attempt to reduce the carbon footprint, to harness an abundant provision in our part of the world.

                Images of the wind--and human attempts to control it--evoke for me Jesus’ teaching about the mysterious movement of the Holy Spirit.  “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).  Meteorologists may determine wind patterns, and theologians can learn many of the ways of the Spirit, yet there is freedom in both, and both come as gift.  We neither generate the wind nor the Spirit of God.

As I think about the beginning of school and the gifted new students God has called to Central (we are growing!), I am praying that we might be instruments of grace as we form them for their vocations in ministry.  They come brimming with eagerness, full of the Holy Spirit.  We will not control the “listing” of the Spirit in their lives—nor should we try.  Our role as professors and friends is to help them learn what the Spirit desires to produce through their lives.  It our responsibility and privilege to help them discern their unique harvest, the “fruit that endures” (John 15:16), and subsequently the church will be nourished through their lives.

                Molly T. Marshall

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