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Breath of God

Breath of God

by Karen Treat

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.  John 20: 21-22

I have reflected on this verse with many people over the past couple of weeks.  We have wondered together what God is saying to us as we hear these words.  Wondered what God wanted for us.

Most would say “peace be with you” stood out for them.  God wanting them to experience peace.

Life is hard.   Illness, transitions, conflict and grief breaks down any sense of quiet.  There are so many places we need to sense complete peace.

For me, I have wondered about receiving the Holy Spirit.  What that feels like?  What does it feel like to “receive the Holy Spirit”?  When Jesus breathed on the disciples was it dramatic?  Or, was it subtle?  A quiet whisper pressed inside of them?

What about me?  What does it feel like to have the Holy Spirit breathed in me?  How do I want it to feel like?   I don’t think I want it to be abrupt.   Being a Midwestern middle-aged Scandinavian, too much commotion feels uncomfortable for me.

As I look further in this text, the disciples don’t react with haste.  They don’t start shouting or evangelizing.  At least not at that moment.  In my imagination I want to believe they just received it like a warm breeze.  A feeling that brought about that deep quiet.  Giving them peace.

As I live in a time of transition in my life right now, this seems right.  I want the Holy Spirit to be a deep low presence in my being.  I want it to abide in me.  To hold me.  To guide me.   To be in my breath.

I guess I would have to say what stands out for me in this verse is the desire for peace.  And this peace comes to me as I breathe in the Holy Spirit.   Through and from Jesus Christ.  This is given to me.  I only have to breathe.

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