Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a wind
filled the entire house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2
A strange thing happened at Saint John’s this past Sunday morning. Fr. Al Stott gave a testimony about his heart valve surgery the Tuesday before last, and, here he was, only five days later, standing and serving the Lord. That is a miracle – both a medical science miracle and a healing miracle, which in my book is all the same. Al held the prayer blanket he received from Saint John’s. He had it with him in recovery and he testified that he felt the power of prayer from the congregation and the Holy Spirit. This is not the strange part. It’s an out and out blessing of huge proportions, thanks be to God.
Here’s the strange part. I was holding the prayer blanket up so the congregation could see it, hands raised above my head and I remember my arms getting tired. Al was on my right, his right hand holding the microphone, his left touching the blanket. As he was talking, the bottom part of the blanket started to curl upwards like there was a breeze blowing it. I thought Al was doing it until I saw his left hand. I’ve been told by a couple of people that they saw the same thing – one behind me, the other to my right next to the piano. One person saw two hands pushing through the blanket. She then demonstrated with the hem of her shirt. She thought I was doing it until she saw my hands at the top of the prayer blanket. After Al’s testimony, I turned to see if a breeze was coming in through an open door; it wasn’t because the door was closed. The a/c was on, but it doesn’t blow in that direction. Nevertheless, something was blowing that blessed blanket.
I’ve written about the Hebrew word, ruach, and how it can mean spirit, Holy Spirit, breath, breath of life, and wind. Ruach is what was blown into the nostrils of the mud-shaped human and made life. Ruach blew over the waters of the earth before God said, “Let there be light.” I think Ruach explains what happened to Al’s prayer blanket. In a larger sense, Ruach is also what happened to Al during his surgery and recovery.
Visitors to Saint John’s have commented on the feeling of Spirit and peace in the church and the warmth of love from the congregants. That is all from the Holy Spirit. Ruach is a spirit (both upper case and lower case) of unity. There is love in unity.
All this month, during our Stewardship drive, you are hearing stories of how the ministry and mission of Saint John’s has impacted people. Although we have not (yet) heard the sound of the rushing Wind, we have seen its presence in our midst. It even includes the playful Spirit of the Lord that will blow a prayer blanket. And, come to think of it, that is not strange at all. It is simply a blessing from God,