Homily preached at Winmalee on Sunday 8th June 2014: Day of Pentecost.
Gospel: John 20: 19-23
“ Jesus breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.”.
Gracious God - bless now the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts. Breath your Spirit into us and grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way you want us to go. Amen.
Have you ever noticed the spiritual energy that emerges, the peace that arises, when you simply stop what you're doing and take a few deep breaths?
"Jesus breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"
Jesus breathed, sending his life energy to his disciples and to us. The Holy Spirit can come to us in dramatic ways, as Acts 2 portrays, but it can also come in the simplest, most overlooked manner, in the very act of breathing. Could it be that as you read this, you are breathing some of the molecules that Jesus sent forth into the universe from the room where the disciples met? Could it be that the Holy Spirit is as near as your next breath? Could it be that insight and wisdom, courage and vitality, are as near as your next breath?
Breathing is underrated as a Christian spiritual discipline. But this passage shows us that we can breathe with Jesus. Each breath can be a prayer and an opening to God's Spirit. In locked doors where fear abounds, breath abides. Jesus greets the disciples with the words, "Peace be with you," and then he breathes on and in them. Jesus is breathing peace, and invites us to do likewise.
Have you ever noticed the spiritual energy that emerges, the peace that arises, when you simply stop what you're doing and take a few deep breaths? During my seminary formation for ordination, Fr.Stephen used to say to me; when preparing to go to the pulpit to begin preaching your sermon,be still for a few seconds and when you breathe, you gain composure and confidence that will be reflected in your delivery and presentation."
It is not accidental that the word "inspiration" has to do with drawing air into the lungs. Each breath can be inspiring, taking in the Holy Breath of God and then breathing it forth into the universe. Inspiration embodies omnipresence.
Resurrection breath is everywhere—in locked rooms and closed hearts—waiting to liberate us from all that brings anxiety and alienation.
Peace is only a breath away. Today, why not practice breathing the resurrection? Take time to read these words, making them your own,
“Jesus breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.” Better yet, why not personalise these words:
Jesus is breathing in our lives and we are receiving the Holy Spirit. Every breath we take opens us to inspiration. Every breath is a prayer.
The Lord Jesus offers each one of us the gift and power of his Holy Spirit. He wants to make our faith strong, give us hope that endures, and a love that never grows cold. He never refuses to give his Spirit to those who ask with expectant faith. Jesus instructed his disciples to ask confidently for the gift of the Spirit: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13).
Resurrection means that Jesus is everywhere, inspiring all who breathe, giving life to deadened spirits and inspiring healthy embodiment. Breathe with Jesus' resurrection breath and receive God's ever-living Spirit.
Do you thirst for God and for the abundant life he offers through the gift of his Spirit?