In his sermon entitled “When God Makes A [Human]” my grandfather, Rev. Willie Boone, said, “Through this breath of spirit, God is breathing thoughts, insight, personality, attitude and purpose … life, into humanity.” We may wonder how just a breath can be all that.
“Ruah,” the Hebrew term for breath, includes wind and
Spirit. God breathed God’s own Spirit into humanity. The characteristics within God are manifested within creation. This breath of Spirit housed within us is different from the oxygen we take in and the CO2 we release. It’s up to us to reconcile God’s living Spirit with our flesh.
This psalmist prays put a new and right spirit within me…do not take your spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit (vv. 10-12). Christmas Day is over and we face a new year. Do you find yourself with an unwilling spirit? No matter what good or ill has befallen you in 2022, are you feeling worn out or apprehensive about the new year? Have we been given the gift of Christmas, the gift of Christ all over again, but now we’d really just like a nap, thank you? Before we enter 2023, set aside some time to sit and breathe. This week more than many, realize how much we need God’s Spirit.
Thankfully, God’s new and right spirit is within us and God will not take it away (vv. 10, 11). Even when we feel tired, when our spirit is unwilling, God’s Spirit remains alive in us. We come to know ourselves and who we were created to be through knowing God and recognizing that Spirit that resides in each of us. And some days, some weeks, it’s enough to simply know that God’s Spirit is within us. It’s enough to simply breathe with God.
What are the unique characteristics and gifts God breathed into your being? How can you cherish and share those gifts?
May we go into the world with God, who blew the breath of life, joy, justice, hope, peace, reconciliation, restoration, righteousness into us, and exhale! Amen.