Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
That breath of life is what brought Jesus to you and to me and to all who have come to know Him.
When Jesus breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” they became alive with the breath of the Almighty God. The Spirit of God awakens us to the need and desire to tell others about the Son of God, and how much God loves them.
I have used CPR to revive persons who had stopped breathing. I was privileged to breathe life into a small child who had stepped off into deep water unexpectedly, and his lung were filled with water. I also know the grief of not being able to bring a person back to life with CPR after they had stopped breathing in their sleep. Breathing air in and out of our lungs comes naturally after we get that first breath of air at birth. The Spiritual life God brings to us comes when we receive the breath of God at our baptism.
Many things in our world can choke that spiritual breath out of us, things like parents not following through on their promises to bring us to church, or forgetting to breathe the Spiritual breath of God when we read God’s Word.
The Breath of God is needed for our personal lives, our churches and in our world. Jesus says that the Spirit blows where it wills and wherever it blows, it brings new life and vitality, healing and renewal to our spirits. The breath of God makes the Word of God come alive in us. Without a doubt we need God’s spirit-filled breath just as those women and men who gathered in an upper room that day needed to hear that Jesus had been raised from the dead. God’s breath gave each of them a spiritual resuscitation, and it is God’s breath breathed on us that gives us life. It sets us on the path of healing and spiritual transformation.
Just as God breathed over the waters and the universe took form in the beginning, God’s breath still gives us life. The spirit-centered movement that we know as the church gets its life from God’s Spirit breathing on us. God still breathes on us and through us to bring life and energy to our spiritual lives. As we read the Bible it is God’s Spirit breathing on us as we read. As we listen to the Word being delivered by our pastors on Sunday it is the breath of God pouring over us.
Christ is still alive and Christ’s work can never be completely encompassed by book or creed. It always moves as God’s breath of life gives us spiritual energy to live out the dreams and adventures that God gives to each of us. It inspires us to be God’s companions in our earthly lifetime. God’s Spirit sets us free, and as it breathes on us it gives us energy for the dreams that God gives us and the adventures that God has planned for our future. It inspires us to be God’s companions.
- What is the breath of God energizing you to do today? Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you a deep energizing breath of God’s Spirit to breathe on others.
- When has your church community experienced the Breath of God breathing on them and through them? It would have been a time when the church was actively sharing God’s love in your community and many people were being drawn to worship God and serve others.
- Recall and write about a time when the Breath of God encouraged you to reach out to minister to others in ways that you never dreamed you could do?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.