Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (NIV).

In 2020, the year of COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd, “having breath” became an unexpectedly urgent issue. Floyd said that he couldn’t breathe more than twenty times. Many COVID-19 patients needed a ventilator to breathe. My daughter, a nurse anesthetist who puts patients on ventilators, often must wear an N95 mask at work. She says, only half jokingly, that you know when the mask is properly fitted because you can’t breathe.

Victims of crucifixion often died not of blood loss but of asphyxia, unable to keep pushing themselves up against the nails in their feet so they could breathe.

“Let everything that has breath. . . .”

But Jesus breathed again on Easter morning. He took new breaths for all who cannot breathe because of illness or violence or a job where breathing is hard. Imagine the first breath Jesus drew outside the tomb, in the cool dawn air of spring. Did he use that breath to shout “Hallelujah”? “Hallelujah” is the “praise the LORD” that frames Psalm 150. When Jesus had breath again, did he join in the chorus of praise with all else that breathes?

The risen Jesus, “ruler of the kings of the earth” (see Revelation 1:5), also reigns over all creation (see Philippians 2:9-10 and Hebrews 1:3), receiving the praise of everything that has breath. The glorious beauty of the creatures in spring reflects divine glory, inviting us to join in their praise.

I hope your breath in 2022 is not beset with the choking crises of 2020. I hope you are able to draw your breath freely and can join the whole universe in praise and worship of the One whose reign of compassion, love, and justice gives us hope when our breath is short. Praise the Lord!

God of resurrection, breathe your breath in us, and accept our praise. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 20:19-31

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Lectionary Week
April 18–24, 2022
Scripture Overview

After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples are unable to remain silent. They go to the Temple to proclaim the gospel. Some people receive the message, while others do not. This causes turmoil within the community, but the apostles stand firm in their testimony, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Psalm 150 might be on the lips of those early apostles. Everything that has breath should praise the Lord! The author of Revelation recounts a vision that he receives from the risen Jesus Christ, who one day will return as Lord of all nations. In John we learn more about the source of the confidence of the apostles. They have experienced Jesus in the flesh, and this experience gives power to their proclamation of the reality of his resurrection.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 5:27-32. When has your faith compelled you to rise up, stand up, or kneel down in obedience to God rather than earthly authorities?
Read Psalm 150. When have you praised God with great celebration? When have you praised God with quiet service to creation?
Read Revelation 1:4-8. How do you see peace arising out of violence in the Bible and in the world around you?
Read John 20:19-31. How have your experiences of witnessing violence or the results of violence helped you to understand that violence does not have the last word?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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