Wind. A welcome breeze on a lovely summer day brings joy. At Pentecost in the Upper Room, a different kind of wind blew through the room along with the Holy Spirit. Ironically, the day following our observance of that Holy Spirit wind, the people of Moore, Oklahoma experienced a devastating version of the usual sort of wind as a tornado ripped apart that community. I grew up in the next town south from Moore. I no longer live in Norman but it and Moore are still part of “home” for me. So, the pictures of the aftermath of the tornado shocked and hurt as though I still live there. But in disasters such as this, people in general feel a kinship with the people affected. What if it had been our town, we collectively murmur under our breath along with a sigh of relief.
What if, indeed. Like those stricken with any disaster, we would depend on the kindness of others who were not impacted. We would expect people from all over the country to reach out to help us, as well we should. I have a question, though. Why does it take something of this magnitude to touch people’s hearts and move them to action? It shouldn’t. In the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25, Jesus tells us how he identifies those who love and serve him: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Why would we so often do these things only in major disasters? For the person experiencing it, it takes much less than a 200 mile per hour tornado to qualify as a disaster. Loss of a job, death of a spouse, serious illness, to name a few, all these are disasters for those touched by them. So help those in Moore, Oklahoma, by all means. Then look around to see what you can do in your neighborhood for those whose lives need the blessing of the different kind of wind that only comes through the Holy Spirit.