When I got home from church on Easter Sunday I changed my clothes, sat down on the couch, inhaled deeply and let out a big sigh. Seven services later Holy Week 2017 was in the books. It’s the most glorious week of the year, recounting the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Savior. But it’s also one of the most fatiguing for church workers.
A deep, heavy sigh sometimes feels great. It brings a cleansing to our lungs and certain relaxation to our bodies. Whenever I exercise, get my heart rate up, and do some heavy cardiovascular work, I find myself breathing a heavy sigh when I’m all finished. It’s my body replenishing the oxygen that it needs and that our God gives in abundant supply.
Isn’t it interesting that the Sunday after Easter we hear the Bible reading of Jesus breathing on the disciples? This isn’t just a post-Easter sigh because He’s tired and in need of some rest. This is the very breath of the Holy Spirit, the Ruach, the Pneuma of God. It is the Lord Himself replenishing His disciples with the strength and faith they need to carry on. This is Jesus giving His disciples the gifts to be His shining lights in a very dark world.
We can take two things away from all this post-Easter breathing:
- Physically: Take the time to breathe. When you are stressed take a deep, cleansing breath and notice your stress float away. Breathe deeply as you regularly work out and keep your body and lungs in shape. Be sure to take your own “Sabbath Day” each week to get an entire day’s worth of “breathing deeply.”
- Spiritually: A physical deep breath just isn’t enough. We need the breath of the Spirit to wash over us consistently and fully. When we are fatigued in body, soul, and spirit, the Holy Spirit comes to us in His perfect Word and glorious Sacraments to breathe the very breath of God into our existence. Take advantage of that breath by being consistently in the Word and receiving the gift of His Holy Supper.
In this post-Easter time breathe in the goodness of God and find rest in Him. He is your breath. He is your strength.
When and where are you breathing in the Spirit?