In both Greek and Hebrew one word means spirit, wind, and breath. When Paul writes that God’s Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God, he describes a kind of conspiracy—a breathing together—between God and us. To conspire simply means to breathe together.
As a theater student I learned a number of improvisational games that we played as a group. To play one of those games, called “parts of a whole” or “machine,” each person makes a particular sound or action. In short, we created a machine with our bodies, with each part having its particular sound or motion like no other part but moving in rhythm with all the other parts. We could speed the machine up or slow it down at the very same rate. Sometimes the person instructing the game would ask us to slow the machine until it stopped. Then he or she would tell us to begin again all together “on the breath.” This meant that all of the parts of this machine (the players) had to listen carefully to the breathing of all the others. Once our breathing synchronized, we could begin to move once again all at the same time. When that happened it was magic.
I wonder what it would be like to pay such close attention to God that our breath synchronized with God’s breath, our desires and hopes synchronized with God’s desires and hopes for us and for the world. At that point we could enter into a truly divine conspiracy, our breath witnessing with God’s breath that we, and all people, are God’s beloved children.
God, who breathed into us the breath of life, help me synchronize my breath, wishes, hopes, and desires with yours. Amen.
In preparing for Pentecost, we focus again on the work of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 recounts the famous story in which the disciples are miraculously able to speak in other languages in order to preach to the crowds in Jerusalem. The psalmist states that God creates and renews creation through the Spirit. According to Paul, if we are led by God’s Spirit, the Spirit confirms that we are children of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us how to love him and to keep his commandments. In some branches of Christianity, fear of excess causes hesitation about the Holy Spirit; however, we must never forget that the Spirit is central to God’s redeeming work.
Read Acts 2:1-21. The miracle of Pentecost is not only in the multitude of languages but also in the act of listening. How can you experience worship in many languages or offer deep listening this Pentecost?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. How do you witness God’s experience woven through all of creation?
Read Romans 8:14-17. The author reminds us that spirit also means breath. When have you felt led by the breath of God?
Read John 14:8-17, 25-27. How has fear kept you from trusting God?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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