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Just Breathe

May 27, 2020

“When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” John 20:22

For the week leading up to Pentecost, there sure is a lot of talk about breathing.

We continue to live through a global pandemic that spreads through our breathing. Droplets from another person are breathed in and the virus spreads. The basic, life-giving act of respiration has become dangerous. In response, many of us are wearing masks. To protect ourselves but more to protect others.

For reasons that don’t quite make sense to me, not everyone thinks masks should be worn. I’m not a scientist, of course, but if there’s even a chance that wearing a mask can prevent someone else from getting sick, well, count me in. We are called to work together to make breathing as safe as possible. To protect as many lives as possible.

On Monday, breathing entered the news in a different way. George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer while three others looked on. The officer pinned Floyd to the ground, knee to neck, so that the victim couldn’t breathe. In spite of protestations of “I can’t breathe,” no help was forthcoming. Now another Black man is dead, his breath taken from him for no good reason. How long, O Lord, will injustice reign?

As we celebrate Pentecost this week, may we remember that we worship the God who gives breath, not the God who takes it. May we come together to make breathing safe and free for all people. It’s the gospel thing to do. Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit upon us. We are made new. May the church bear witness to this truth in our proclamation.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Breath of Life, you blew over the waters at creation, filling our lungs with life. At Pentecost, you were poured out to connect us to the new life given in Christ. Fill our lives and our lungs with your Spirit, that we would inhale grace and mercy, that we would exhale justice and righteousness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: The Descent of the Holy Ghost, Titian, circa 1545 (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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