REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 3:7-8 - YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN - DR. NOEL JACOBS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I have wrestled and wrestled with the term ‘born again’ since I was a child, first leaving the Episcopal church for a visit to my grandmother’s church, which was Southern Baptist. I did not know how very different the interpretation of scripture was from group to group! Coming back as an adult to my Anglican roots after significant journey, and after intentionally becoming part of a much broader interfaith community (that includes Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh communities, among others) I feel, ironically perhaps, that I have a much stronger grasp of the allusion to Spirit than I did when I was younger. I also feel I have a greater understanding of the term ‘born again.’ We know from other passages that love, kindness and patience, along with several other qualities, begin to emerge when someone is transformed by Spirit. And that process of being born a second time? I see and experience it as a quietly beautiful, sometimes painful, process of transformation in which we slowly let go of old ideas, old ways of thinking, old pains from this world that injures us at times, as we feel the peace of that Spirit moving through us like the wind, unseen but definitely there. And I am thankful for my ongoing process of rebirth.
Creator, You have always known what we need. While the world hurts us and also coaxes us into holding on to it tighter, You know how Your unseen wind, the Holy Spirit, can give us a new birth. Help us through this process, so we can show Your fruits and help transform the world around us with Love. Amen.
Submitted by Noel Jacobs, who has been a member of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church for over four years with his wife Anne and their twins Keegan and Felix. He enjoys making jewelry for his family and friends and traveling with his family. He is a child psychologist who serves kids going through treatment for chronic health issues, and has recently discovered a love of making films that are helpful for teaching and encouraging kids and families.
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.