There’s been a lot of focus on breath this week at church. Vacation Bible School is in full swing with the theme, “Breathe in, God gives life.” We’ve talked about how the Hebrew word for breath – ruakh – is the same word translated Spirit and wind. Scriptures so far have included the breath of life in Genesis 2 in God’s humorous, and profound, formula for making a person (Dirt + Breath = Human). We’ve talked about Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones, and the impossible hope of breath giving life where there was no life. Yesterday we looked at the disciples crossing of the stormy sea and Peter’s willingness to get out of the boat to meet Jesus on the waters. Here the wind/spirit/breath is the cause not of peace, but turmoil and trial and, ultimately, a deepening of faith. We’ve talked about how prayer is as accessible as breathing in – and breathing out. I hope the kids are having as much fun as the adults.
That Spirit and breath are integrally connected in the biblical imagination is a great gift of our tradition. For us Spirit can often feel abstract, ethereal, out of reach. Breath, on the other hand, is close – not just out there, but in our bodies, moving through us. For the ancients they are both connected, as that which cannot be seen but is vital to life – made visible through its effects.
We are Spirit people, breath people, young and old. The breath of life channels through these bodies we’ve been given, enlivening thought and action, reminding us that we are connected to everything that breathes in this spirited creation.