31 March 2008

Jesus Breathed

John 20:19-31

Imagine the disciples on the third day after Jesus’ death on the cross. Imagine their conversation - were they wondering what their next move was to be? Though they were in fear, were they calmly waiting for Jesus to reappear in fulfillment of the scriptures? Were they speculating about how long it would be until he would reappear? Did they maybe fear that he would reappear? Did they even believe that he would?

We don’t know what the disciples discussed between the time that Mary Magdalene announced that she had seen Jesus and the time that he appeared to them. One might assume, though, that their expectations upon seeing him were great. When Jesus appeared to the disciples, however, there were no storms, no puffs of smoke, and no voice from the heavens. He appeared among them quietly, showed them his injured hands and side, and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then simply, he breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. …”

Jesus breathed on them.

When you felt God’s call, what did it feel like? It may have been a slow, calm, dawning of the heart and soul that you were being called. It may have been an exciting, abrupt epiphany, or just a gentle “whoosh” through your body and soul. For others, it might be that God’s call was born in you while in the womb. No matter when or how God’s call arrived, consider that the breath that Jesus breathed onto – through - the disciples that day might be what was felt by you when the awareness of your call came to you. That exact breath. That exact breath, through the mystical power of Jesus, breathed especially onto you.

When you are before your session and your CPM, … when you are courageously speaking the truth of our community to our brothers and sisters in Christ who feel challenged by you as you live out your creation and your call, … take a deep breath to remind yourself of Jesus’ breath on that day. That exact breath. Remember, with hope, His words to us all, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit.” Allow his sustaining breath to flow into your heart, receive the Holy Spirit, and go in peace.

Our Divine Creator, we thank you for the gifts of your spirit. We thank you for the healing breath of Jesus, and for the great gifts of community that we share. We thank you too, for your ever-present peace and endless hope that knows no boundaries. Please grant us wisdom and courage, and help us remember to always love and care for one another through our differences. For we, with our brothers and sisters, are all one in you even when we forget. Thank you for our calls, and for the growth along the way that you provide. In your holy name we pray, Amen.

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