Blowing in the Wind
Bob Dylan’s iconic song from the ’60s is sung worldwide because the chorus provides a simple truth that could not be denied. Dylan’s words could not be rejected because they offered a simple truth that pricked our conscience. The song asks questions of justice and simple answers. The answer is “blowing in the wind,” to mean that the answer is all around us.
This week’s text tells us of the simple truth regarding who is accepted by God. Peter told the church leadership in Jerusalem that the old Jewish food laws were no longer valid in the new faith in Jesus. He reminded that in Jesus, everyone would be accepted by their faith without limitations based on human-made rules. Peter testified that the faith of new believers was validated by the movement of the Spirit.
The Greek word for spirit is “Ruah,” and it is also translated as “wind.” The people two millennia ago believed in a God who was manifested through natural means: God provided Israelites the manna in the desert, parted a sea, and stopped a river from flowing to help them on their journey into the promised land. Therefore, the movement of God in changing people’s hearts was attributed to the work of the spirit or blowing in the wind.
The message of the passage is also evident. Who is accepted by God? The answer is everyone who responds to God in faith is accepted. Whoever turns to God for grace is accepted. There is nothing difficult to figure out.
It often appears that churches today make many irrelevant rules to keep people away from God, rather than putting their efforts to help people find their ways to God. Just as the early church had to find out that the Spirit calls people to God, we also must recognize the work of the Spirit on the people in our lives.
God’s love is available to everyone just as the wind blows on everyone. We also know instinctively that everyone is accepted by God because God is loving and gracious. We do not need to come up with rules to judge people by as no human-made rules are relevant to God.
Who is accepted by God? It is blowing in the wind.