I used to be an art teacher and I one of things I loved about teaching younger kids is the sense of awe they often brought with them to the art room. For them, everything from mixing colors to learning the trick of simple perspective was like learning to do magic. When I would teach landscape to small kids in first or second grade they would draw the ground and houses and then they would put that bit of sky across the top of the page. When I would encourage them to make the sky come down and touch the earth they would look at me like I was crazy… so I would take them over to the windows and say, “take a look, the sky doesn’t stop way up there. What do you see?” And they would gasp, like they had never seen the sky before. Like they were looking at it for the first time. And they would go back to their table and tell their classmates. “Guess what! The sky comes all the way down to the ground!”
This coming Sunday the lectionary text is the one where Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and tells him that he realizes that Jesus comes from God, and I get the impression that Nicodemus is a bit like my kids, I imagine his eyes really big and his voice filled with awe, I imagine him asking Jesus, “how do you do that?”
How do I come from God?
I feel like Jesus turns into a buddhist monk at this point because then he tells Nicodemus all kinds of strange things about being born from above and the wind blows where ever it chooses and that we can hear the sound of it but we don’t know here it comes from or where it’s going… but coming from God is like that.
It seems like there’s a secret in here somewhere and it’s not as easy to discover as looking out the window. When I started working on my drawing I realized that the horizon line between the ground and the sky was permeable. Instead of being defined it kinda blurred into the sky and I started thinking about these images of the Spirit that Jesus offered as permeable; the wind that becomes our breath that we pass on to one another, and water that moves through our bodies nurturing and sustaining us but constantly in motion. I’m thinking the sky doesn’t just come down and touch the earth but it fills is up much like Jesus’ story of the Spirit of God fills us up. Maybe it moves in and out and through us and gives birth to who we are… where ever we go.