Pastor’s Page

A word from Pastor Marla

Breath Deeply


The story is told about a little girl who was flying a kite. It was a windy and cloudy day, and the kite kept going higher and higher. Finally, it got so high in the clouds that it was out of sight. A man passed by and saw the little girl holding onto the string. The man could not see the kite, and he asked the girl, “How do you even know you have a kite up there?” The girl replied, “Because I can feel it.” The Wind… “Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you? But when the leaves hang trembling, the wind is passing through. Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I. But when the leaves bow down their heads, the Wind is passing by.” This poem reminds us of a statement Jesus made to one who came to him asking how it might experience eternal life. “The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

We just celebrated Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church. God’s actions on that day were long-awaited and received with awe. Jesus’ promise of the coming Spirit was fulfilled. So where are we talking about wind? During the season of Pentecost, the focus is on one word which can be translated as wind, spirit or breath. In Hebrew, it is the word, “ruach” which in English is translated Spirit. In Greek, it is the word, “pneumatos”; in English, it is the word “wind” which can be also translated “spirit” or “breath.” Jesus first talked about being born of the Spirit when Nicodemus came to him by night. Nicodemus came at night because he was a Pharisee, a high-ranking religious leader, among many leaders who were not only questioning but opposing Jesus and his teachings of God’s kingdom. And yet, Nicodemus recognized something in Jesus that he could not deny. He recognized that Jesus was Divine the Son of God. So he came seeking life eternal and abundant. The story ends without telling us about Nicodemus’ decision. Did he decide to follow Jesus – was he born of the Spirit? I can only speculate but I would like to imagine that Nicodemus was among the 120 followers of Jesus (including Mary, the mother of Jesus) who were gathered together in that upper room The very Breath of God blew through the gathering and they were changed and empowered forever. Here is the truth: everyone who has decided to follow Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit – the very Breath of God!! Do you believe? Do you feel it? I invite you to realize that we, yes even Evangelical Lutherans and United Methodists, are Pentecostal for we are filled with the Holy Spirit. I invite you to breathe deeply with me as we examine the impact of the Spirit within our lives and through our lives. “Take a deep breath and hold it.” How many times, has your doctor asked you to do that as he/she listens to your heartbeat? Take a deep breath and listen to God speak to your heart, telling you the truth of God’s abiding presence and love for you. How many times have you gone through difficulties or maybe you were just having a rough day when someone said to you, “Just take a deep breath?” There are times when each of us, needs to take a deep breath – breathe deeply the spirit of God — and let the Holy Spirit give you peace and calm your soul. Just relax. There is a physiological reality that taking deep breaths help us do just that. Research has shown that breathing exercises can have immediate effects by altering the ph of the blood or lowing blood pressure. It is one of the ways God has designed our bodies to help us care for ourselves in times of anxiety and stress.

Just breathe. Be calm in your soul. Jesus said, “Peace I give you, my peace not as the world gives!” The old hymn says, “Breathe on me Breath of God fill me with life anew.” The Holy Spirit will remind us that we are not alone. Jesus told the disciples, I will not leave you orphaned – you will not feel that you are alone. The comforter will come and be with you always. There are times, St. Paul said when we are at our weakest (Romans 8:26) the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Sighing becomes a prayer when it takes everything we’ve got to just breathe. Years ago I learned of an ancient form of praying called the breath prayer. Essentially, it is simply preparing for difficult periods of life by choosing a short statement of faith to breathe in prayer when you are weary and heavy-laden. Examples are: “Hear my cry and help me.” “O Lord, be my helper.” (Psalm 30:6) “Have mercy on me.” “Use me, Lord.” Breath prayers are personal and situational. They are a gift from the Spirit to comfort and direct you as you breathe in and breathe out. With every breath you take may you feel the presence and power of the Holy Spirit!

In Christ’s love.
Marla

June 2021