In a continuing quest to become energy independent from our utility company on our small farm property, we recently installed a different kind of “windmill” behind our home. Not the typical windmill, but a vertical, cylindrical type (called WindStax) made right here in Pittsburgh. With two vertical cylinders—one on top of the other—each about 10 feet tall, the wind powers them to send electricity to two large batteries. The batteries, in turn, move through an inverter to send power through many of the circuits in our home.
Due to major weather interference during winter and early spring, the system was not fully operational until last month. We added 4 solar panels to our roof in May to supplement power from the wind turbines. (Perhaps a bit analogous to Moses in the desert, powered via “sun by day, and wind by night?”) Some adjustment and fine tuning are ahead with this system, but we are expectantly hopeful.
Pentecost is a season and story of wind and fire. I like to think we are leaning into the wind on our property just as we seek to lean into God’s spirit to receive energy and direction from God’s amazing and gracious presence.
Sometimes the wind does not blow, and the turbines are very still. They are very sensitive, however, and will turn slowly even at winds of 2 or 3 mph. While God’s Spirit is constant and ever present, we are not always aware or receptive.
Sometimes the wind blows with considerable ferocity—almost as though it will burn up the bearings upon which our wind turbines rest. Sometimes God’s Spirit works very hard to get our attention and bring about significant change and new energy.
Sometimes, I watch our WindStax and wonder about the presence and power of God’s Spirit. Sometimes, I am cutting the grass around the installation and am in awe of the size and power of it. (24 feet of wood and steel) How does it really generate electricity? How does God move and work so mysteriously and wondrously in our midst? And how do we lead others into that empowering Presence?