The Wayward Wind
by Lori Heine

“The wayward wind is a restless wind…a restless wind…that yearns to wander…

There's a pretty old ballad from the Fifties that always makes me a little sad. Gogi Grant’s “The Wayward Wind” tells the story of a lady who’s fallen in love with a drifter. She’d hoped he’d finally settle down with her, but alas, it was not to be. In the end, she’s left “alone with a broken heart.”

The wind frustrates many people, because it doesn’t blow where they want it to—and it never stays in one place. When a religious leader, Nicodemus, met secretly with Jesus late one night, Our Lord essentially told him the same thing. “The wind blows wherever it pleases,” He said. “You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” (John 3:8)

Whenever I read that passage, I get a shiver. God’s mysterious power and often-inscrutable will are sometimes characterized, in Scripture, as the wind. And indeed, who are mere mortals to presume that they can direct its course? Rising up in that fishermen’s boat, as His disciples cowered in terror, Jesus commanded the wind to be still—and it obeyed Him (Mark 4:39). But He spoke to the storm with the authority of Almighty God.

Those who have appointed themselves our own nation’s religious leaders behave as if they’re determined they are going to rule over the wind. The fiery tempest they’ve stirred up about “religious freedom,” in reaction against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in general, was intended to sweep our advances away. It has, however, whirled completely out of their control. What they really want to do, of course, is drag in the government to settle what they claim is essentially a religious issue. That would only work if the government was God.

But God is God, and no one else. Pentecost happened at God’s bidding. Mere mortals could do nothing more than pray for it. And when it came, they had no say in where it came from—or where it would go from there. Modern church leaders have no more say in that matter than those who would follow Christ have ever had.

What they’ve stirred up instead is a fierce debate, within the churches themselves, about what God wills with regard to LGBT people. Did He lovingly create us, or are we mistakes? Does the Old Testament holiness code condemn us, or when Jesus opened His arms to welcome all who would come to Him—saying nothing whatsoever against us—did He have the final word?

The Holy Spirit has the final word. And the Spirit will never contradict the Son, who always speaks for the Father. I believe that Jesus is standing up, now, and rebuking the noisy, silly tempest the religious right is generating with its political wind machine. This artificial squall is no match for the quiet, gentle breath of fresh air now blowing through the churches—cleaning out the foul and stagnant air of bigotry. The real wind blows where it will, and all the fearful legislation in the world is utterly powerless to stop it.


© 2016 Lori Heine

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