Don’t Hold Your Breath

“And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”

– Acts 2:2

Scientists tell us that most of us take a breath at least twenty thousand times per day. It is an understatement to say that this is a great deal of activity. Yet, when was the last time you noticed yourself breathing? (I know, probably as soon as you read this question!) Breathing itself is a primal act that we usually take for granted. The experience, or even the thought, of not being able to breathe can fill us with fear and panic, for we know it means certain death –

“When thou takest away their breath they die and return to dust” (Ps 104:29). The account of our beginnings in the book of Genesis depicts God, as if bent over his newly formed clay creation, as he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). At that moment, “man became a living being.” The breath of God is the spring of our life, yet its very quietness and subtlety can delude us into thinking that we are independent and self-sufficient, unless something comes along to remind us again of our life’s source.

The church, as the climax to the entire Easter season, celebrates the day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day, the perfect fulfillment of God’s promise (7×7+1). And Easter is the story of our salvation through Jesus Christ, the hope of our own resurrection, the pledge of our inheritance of new and eternal life, even as the Son of God “breathed his last” (Luke 23:46). It is perhaps no surprise, then, that one of the signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence among Jesus’ disciples on that day of Pentecost was the sudden blowing of a “mighty wind.” Contained within a single room, such a squall must have caused a frenzy of sight and sound!

Here is the genesis of the newly born Body of Christ, a new beginning for the people of God. By this storm, the Spirit comes to resuscitate a dying world. Into the lungs of the infant church, God is breathing the breath of life. The image of that event is a vivid and vibrant reminder, throughout the generations, that only God can give life, and that when he does, wonderful things begin to happen. For the Spirit still comes breathing, moving, and blowing where he will (John 3:8). Is there any better day than the Day of Pentecost to ask that he breathe afresh in us?

Come Holy Spirit, by whose breath,
Life rises vibrant out of death;
Come to create, renew, inspire;
Come kindle in our hearts your fire.
In His Peace,

Pastor Schultz

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