John 3:1-8 (NAB)
There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born from above,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’
“You must be born from above.”
what on earth might that mean
born form above…
the ordinary understanding of words appears at first to collapse, but John records Jesus speaking these words twice and asks his hearers not to be surprised by them because it is the work of water and the spirit.
He leaves me with the idea of the spirit being like the wind - it comes and goes as it pleases but you cannot tell where the wind comes from.
Now, obviously, I now have the BBC and weather vanes at a push. These however only tell me the properties of the wind not about its nature which is always a mystery. It comes from variation in air pressure. What causes a change in air pressure? Ascending and descending air. What causes the air to ascend and descend? Heat and cold. The sun heats the air at ground level this reduces its density which drives convection to drive the warm air vertically causing heat lows. What drives the engine? Well that’s as easy as predicting the weather and as I know highly reliable, thanks to the Chaos theory.
Perhaps the message is unless I become insubstantial I won't enter the kingdom - what's that? - because the reign of God is made of such things and unrecognisable from a material point of view.
Language and reason have brought me to a threshold and although words may be all I have they are useful only as far as they go, as vehicles, and I abandon them at my peril but canonise them at greater peril.
So get into the mindset of the above. Paraphysical reality or Paramateriality because to me, at least, it seems that’s what John is saying Jesus is saying that's what the reign of God is about.
Materiality is about time and places and objects in space time and ‘stuff’whilst the reign of God is about the hum behind the universe the cosmic background noise the inconspicuous which makes the rest possible - leaving me with the question what does make the world go round? Love perhaps, money perhaps?
You chose; today I set before you life or death. Be blown along, flow with the water or attempt to resist change.
Of course it might just be used as biblical support for the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation which would make life far simpler.