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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Ruakh


Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

It was years ago, I remember a circle of students standing around a hotel swimming pool in McAllen, Texas. It was after dark and the air was warm and sticky. But there was a breeze. A breeze that may have changed the life of a student forever.

Later Kareena talked about a song. I wish I could remember what it was. We sang it all the time, but this time was different. Because this time the wind blew and the Spirit whispered and my young friend felt His breath. I wonder if she still remembers?

“The Spirit came to me in the wind.”

Last week I taught my college students about RUAKH. The Hebrew word that means wind/breath/spirit. And Spirit.


The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).

The same Spirit-breath hovering over the waters of creation hovered again over the baptism waters of the One who would usher in a new creation.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him…(Matthew 3:16).


This One who would bring us His living water first became flesh within the waters of a human womb.

“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…(Luke 1:35)

God in flesh conceived by Spirit!! And if this ruakh mystery doesn’t blow your mind…

Well I don’t know.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

The Spirit gives life to creation and we who are the new creation inhale His breath.

By ruakh we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

And by ruakh we also create.

I asked my college students if they knew about a guy named Bezalel from the Bible—

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft (Exodus 31:1-5).

Which brings me to the point of today’s story. And this quote from last week’s lecture:

“Throughout the Hebrew Bible, God interacts with and influences humans by his ruakh, connecting himself to their ruakh, their own breath and spirit…the essence of their perspectives, affections, and creative ideas.” (BibleProject)

I am a creative being. I create beautiful spaces and sometimes I create with paper and art but mostly I create with words. Words for me are Spirit-breath. And here’s the thing. Every exquisite thing I create—every meaningful word I craft—comes straight from Ruakh within me. And if I fail to acknowledge this I FAIL altogether.

I wrote a book—one I believe is truly lovely. It tells a story and the story flows through well-crafted words. The book’s cover reveals the name of its author—and the author is me. But I know a secret. Just like Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship…

The Spirit gave every single one of those beautiful words to me.

Oh believe me. I could wax long over every detail of this creative process. How the story first came to me as the wind of Spirit and how when I wrote it down I was capturing with keystrokes those words He breathed. If I fail to recall this I fail to remember.

The wind blows wherever it pleases and so it is with everyone born of the Spirit…

It was Wind that blew my first book to its completion. It was not me.

So what compels me to bear witness to this ruakh story again today? Just this—

He has been breathing life into another book. An embryo of sorts, to borrow an image. I can sense the wind blowing, the creative juices flowing. A seed of story and He’s chosen

Me

To put words on a page. Ruakh breeze and story mingling with Word of Life and I’m not sure where it comes from or where it is going…

But we shall see.

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