Most of the time we don’t even think about breathing, but if you are reading this, you have never stopped doing it for any length of time! Breathe in, breathe out. Easy breezy. Easy that is till something goes wrong. My father and my mother-in-law both died of breathing related problems; seeing their struggles have made me more aware of the gift of breathing. I know a number of people in our congregation have breathing problems: cystic fibrosis, asthma, pneumonia. Things that can take your breath away.
I want you to think about breathing because this Sunday we will be talking about the only verse in the New Testament that uses the Greek word emphysao “to breathe”, “Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’.” There are other words translated as the English word “breathe” in the New Testament, but they aren’t quite this word. For example, when Jesus is on the cross many translations say “be breathed his last”. But literally the Greek says “He let go of his pneuma.” Pneuma can be breath, or spirit, or ghost. The King James version says “He yielded up his ghost.”
That’s the Good Friday story, the story that ends with Jesus dead in a tomb. The resurrection story begins on Easter, with Jesus emphysao…breathing. Jesus breathes breath on the disciples; he breathes pneuma, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath, the Holy ghost.
So basically what we’re talking about on Sunday is about taking a deep breath! I hope that the service will be filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Holy breath.
This week’s prayer: Breathe on us breath of God!