A new kind of shelter
John 3: 1-17 (NRSVA)
1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3 Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4 Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9 Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10 Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Stone, glass and wood, expertly combined with cement, putty and nails can build a shelter that keeps the wind and rain out. It can keep you sheltered no matter what hooley blows outside. However, in the journey of life we need somewhere to call home, even for the night, in both a physical but also spiritual sense.
A bothy might allow you to dry your boots and warm your bones, but beyond that we all need a shelter that allows us to dry our eyes and warm our souls. In John 3 there is offer of a new kind of shelter, a shelter not needed following our earthly birth, but following a second birth through the Holy Spirit.
At this mid-point in the week of journeying in the wind and rain of a Scottish spring looking for shelters in the hills there is a change from individual practical needs that moves towards being about something more. This is a spiritual rebirth that sets you on a journey that will lead you into a community seeking shelter and sharing shelter together.
From this day forward, the journey has changed and we speak of a new kind of shelter.
Help me be prepared to see that things must change.
Help me to look to you in faith when I see that all can and will be restarted in you.
Help me keep on the path, knowing that I have to be ready to see what is new, sure that you offer a new kind of shelter.