A change had come. The doors to their hiding place were unlocked and the fearful ones now walked the streets freely. They spoke boldly and touched those broken with love. Those who saw this were amazed. The authorities rumbled and ordered them to be silent. When the two apostles were released from custody, their companions cheered. As they prayed for courage to continue, the building swayed. God’s spirit was moving among them. They were not alone.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night with his questions. He was a man of standing in the community. An expert on ritual, he was captivated by what eluded his fine understanding. Of course, with his reputation, these visits were secret. Nicodemus was stuck in the middle; he could draw no closer, neither would he forget. The spirit passed overhead as he pondered his quandary.
As Dante embarks on his journey through hell, he first enters the plain of Acheron, where the spiritually indifferent ones are left behind. These souls cannot cross the river and face judgment. Neither hell nor heaven wants them, so they are blown about forever like tumbleweed. His is a harsh view of those who waver and never take a stand.
Nicodemus tried to go it alone and got stuck in a holding pattern. We need one another to face the spirit. Like the winds that bring spring to the plains, the spirit moves among us when we gather in our need and fear and hope. Then we come alive. That day we are reborn.
By Jeanne Shuler