Thought for the week, 24th September; The mighty wind

So last Saturday, on a day out at the Stoke Prior Traction Engine Rally, tiring a little of watching the duck herding in the main arena (seen it before), I wandered round the site and came across the Native American Camp. This is a display put on by Native Americans who have settled in this country and they use it to teach about their culture. For people of my generation, who only knew this from Cowboy and Indian films, not the most objective source, it was fascinating to get a more realistic perspective on everything from “war paint” (nothing to do with war) to the different dances. The leader of the group was a natural story-teller and at one point he launched into an anecdote about when he got a job to teach at a church school, with a priest in charge. I suspected this story would not reflect well on the priest and he did not come across as the most culturally sensitive of people. But I was not particularly bothered; I was much more interested in the story-teller’s own beliefs. He had a discussion with the priest about his faith; he believed in reincarnation of sorts, but he believed he would be reborn as the wind. Wherever the wind blew, there he would be, to bring comfort to those he loved. 

In the Old Testament, the word used to describe the spirit of God is ruach; but it also means breath or wind. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit, the comforter, is described as like a mighty wind. There seems to be a fascinating convergence here, with two completely different belief systems finding something very spiritual in the movement of air, be it a breeze or a gale. Perhaps the story teller and the priest had more in common in their spirituality than either realised.