Wind of God – 21 May 2018

On a hot summer’s day a window has been opened. A welcome breeze fills the room, the movement of the air lifting the net curtains. It is a liminal scene, the window marking the border between interior and exterior. The wind enters and begins to transform the interior. On the lacy fabric of the curtains are small birds, which seem to fly into the room on the wind.

The picture is ‘Wind from the sea’ by Andrew Wyeth (1947). Wyeth once said about his art: “It’s a moment that I’m after, a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment.” Here he captures a moment of longing for air and breadth, for life itself.

It is an image that stands in a long tradition in art in which a room represents a universal subject, a person or soul. As we look at this image we become its subject, the one longing for wind or air. We see the world beyond the window, the well-worn rutted track. Opening the window acknowledges inner longing, a desire for air and breath. As the boundary between inside and out dissolves, hope rises, and life becomes more possible.


Jesus said: “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.”

John 3:8

Blow, winds of God, awake and blow
The mists of earth away:

John Greenleaf Whittier

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Edwin Hatch, 1878