Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Spirit. In my devotion that day, the reading was from the book of Acts where the Holy Spirit arrived and the disciples began speaking in languages all could understand. The devotion made a point that people had come from all over the region, and being able to hear their mother tongue may have reminded them of home and what a comfort that would have been for them.
It struck me that our relationship with the Holy Spirit can help provide a sense of “home” to those around us. I have been mulling this over all week, thinking about what this may look like. There are certain people in my life, that when I am in their presence, I feel like I can completely relax, totally be myself, and just breathe. These are the people that are able to put others at ease, without trying. There is a sense of “home” with these people – a place where one can breathe freely. That’s how I want to be for people, so I have been praying about it, asking God what I should do.
And Spirit replied, “Be still and Breathe.” And then Spirit reminded me that they do the work.
Genesis 2:7 – “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”
John 20:21-22 – “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
1 Kings 19 – [Elijah is in a cave, waiting for the LORD to pass by] – “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face…”
Ezekiel 37: 4-6 [Ezekiel is in the valley of Dry Bones, talking with God….] “Then [God] said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! this is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.”
God put their breath in our lungs. Our life comes from God by way of the Holy Spirit breathing over and in us. As we take our breaths, Spirit breathes with us and through us and therein lies our ability to become “home” for those around us.
Because we are all uniquely made, our providing “home” for others will look different. Perhaps you work for the state and your presence in a place that doesn’t always make the most sense brings comfort and a sigh of relief to those you work with. Perhaps you are with children as a parent or teacher or babysitter, so you get to provide a sense of security and safety and unconditional love to these little ones that are growing and learning how to breathe in a not always safe world. Perhaps you write, or paint or sing or sew, breathing colorful encouragement to those around you, offering your talents back to the One who loves you. Perhaps you walk through forests and talk to the trees, begging forgiveness for our callousness to nature, and offering vital support to environmental protective services. Perhaps you work in the service industry, amongst so much fear and rudeness, but you continue to shine your light, breathing peace towards the fear and ugliness you meet. Perhaps you feel anxious, depressed, discouraged, angry or betrayed and being able to stay with those feelings encourages others who are walking the same path.
Whatever you do, wherever you are, Spirit is with you and will whisper to those around you that they can breathe and know that they are loved, just as God does for you, beloved.