Don Cowie
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In contrast to many of our more masculine, mechanical concepts of God, one stands powerfully apart: God giving birth. It's a beautiful, feminine image in its call that we be “born anew.” John 3 describes how Jesus used these powerful metaphors of new life and beginnings.

The Pharisee Nicodemus came to Jesus one night, unsure what to think of this man who was both performing miracles and challenging religious leaders like himself.  

“Teacher, I know you are from God . . .”

A teacher calling Jesus teacher. A prominent and established leader approaching an emerging religious leader, an upstart.  

Jesus makes this statement before a question is even posed:

You must be born anew. 

This to Nicodemus, someone who lived a devout, calculated, moral life. A responsible leader carrying the perceived burden of his people’s religious lives on his shoulders. A man esteemed and followed for his religious example, hears:

You need to start from scratch! Everything you've built, everything that gives you position, status, respect and authority - it's old. You need to be a baby.

Give up your status. Give up your control. Give up your claims to moral and spiritual authority. Start over.

Jesus takes his radical call a step further when he compares God to the wind - it can’t be controlled, predicted or seen. It blows wherever it wants.  

So stop trying to rein it in, stop controlling and judging and living out of your formulas for life. Instead, receive the life of God.  

Key to this is to stop trying to ascend to God, rather attend to the one who descended. The way up is down. The way to life in the Kingdom of God is through the gate of death. Death on the cross. Death of our egos.

John's words have ricocheted around my soul this week. For the most part, I live a carefully constructed life. Much of my identity, morality and ministry flows from my needs for control and approval, and my tendencies to settle for an “easy peace” instead of an honest Shalom.

In my life, and in my community, I know we need to be born anew. We need to constantly surrender our ideas and agendas to the wind of the Spirit. It does happen sometimes, I just wish it happened more. It happened the other week as our friend Conrad gave of himself to lead us in worship on Saturday, truly and vulnerably. He seemed able to abandon all ego and helped us experience a raw newness of life.

Why do we work so hard trying to make it happen (our success, our identity, our future, our healing), instead of just allowing God to birth it?