This is the air I breathe. This is the air I breathe.
Your holy presence living in me.
This is my daily bread. This is my daily bread.
Your very Word spoken to me.
And I, I’m desperate for you. And I, I’m lost without you.
This is the air I breathe. Your holy presence living in me. ~ Michael W. Smith
This morning when I went to pray, this song kept wandering through my mind. It is a beautiful praise song and it says something about our relationship with God. Because, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters – Genesis 1:1-2. The word for spirit is the same word that is used for breath. God’s breath blew across the waters as he brought life to the majestic universe that he was creating from nothing. Apparently, when the story in Genesis begins, he had already created the water and something representing the earth to hold it. We are all born from water into form and then we begin to breath.
An aside of sorts – A year or so ago, I thought about the spirit blowing over the water as I said my before bedtime prayer. What was it like before there was nothing? Nothing but God? God? I tried to imagine this and I really couldn’t. Suddenly, I saw a deep night navy sky studded with millions upon millions of stars. I could imagine this, because I had seen such skies before. I tried for a minute to imagine what it was like before such a sky was created, but…. As I looked at the stars, a round section in the center of the sky moved. It shimmered like water with a pebble being thrown into it. It took my breath away. Was it God’s breath hovering over me that caused this experience? I realized that this was as close as I could get to imagining before creation. Then I realized that God had just blown me a good night kiss and my breath returned. He might have said something like, “Crazy little girl child thinking she could imagine such a thing. Really nice try, though.”
But back to the creation story – “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being – Genesis 2:7. The creation continues.
And with that he (Jesus) breathed on them (his disciples) and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit – John 20:22. Yes. We need this, too.
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last – Mark 15:37. Or “gave up his spirit” – John 19:30. This was voluntary, His spirit returned to his Father then returned to his body at his resurrection. After some additional teaching and after reassuring his stunned followers that he was alive and would be with them always, he left again. How can this be?
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled those disciples with new life and power. Filled once again with the breath of God, a new restored creation began – the Church, the Body of Christ including you and me, is reassigned the mission of spreading God’s Kingdom on earth by loving God and neighbor and doing those things that Jesus did. We have that same original mission and the same breath of the Holy Spirit enables us to do the piece of work that we are called most specially to do.
Henri Nouwen writes, “Being the living Christ today means being filled with the same Spirit that filled Jesus. Jesus and his Father are breathing the same breath, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the intimate communion that makes Jesus and his Father one. Jesus says: ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (John 14:10) and ‘The Father and I are one’ (John 10:30). It is this unity that Jesus wants to give us. That is the gift of his Holy Spirit. Living a spiritual life, therefore, means living in the same communion with the Father as Jesus did, and thus making God present in the world.”
My thoughts: What if the very air around us is the breath of God still creating. What if every time we breathe we breathe in God? What if I try to comprehend what that would be like? Once again, I most likely can’t. But here is what I/we can do: Every time we need a pause because things are crazy – pause, take a deep breath. Imagine that we are breathing in the Holy Spirit. Imagine it. When we say our daily prayers – pray, breathe. Know that Jesus is breathing into you. Whenever we need a deep breath…. Yes.
You are the air I breathe, your holy presence living in me. My daily bread-your very word. I’m desperate for you. I’m lost without you. Breathe. (Paraphrased sort of).