Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Easter 2
April 3, 2016
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (John 20:22)
I take a deep breath … but it is interrupted by a bit of congestion in my lungs, and I end up in a coughing fit….
I step into our unfinished basement from the garage and immediately smell the rich garlic aroma of Nancy’s chicken and vegetable dinner, one of my favorites, and I inhale a deep draft of what I will love having for dinner….
I lay in bed and as the winds are pummeling my home, and I find myself thinking about Elijah hiding in a cave on Mt. Horeb while Yahweh pounds the mountainside with a fierce wind….
I walk out to get the morning paper today, and the briskness of the cool air awakens me in a way that no cup of coffee can accomplish….
Pneuma … the Greek word translated as “wind” or “breath” or “spirit” has gusted its way into my life and made its presence known. It brings warning and joy in the first two circumstances, along with awe and focus in the second two. If I spent enough time thinking about it, I could easily come up with other adjectives to describe this awesome gift of spiritual life that pneuma offers to me (and you). Whenever we have significant wind storms I find myself thinking about the potency of the Holy Spirit.
A potency that is as diverse as it is powerful. I want to Holy Spirit to be a calm and warm presence in my life … something I can anticipate and call upon when needed … a kind of “cleansing breath” kind of God-presence. But this is the Holy Spirit that was present at creation, and is the very breath God exhaled into human life. How can I ever consider this most formidable creative force to be tame and calm? It is the potency of life blowing through us and among us. Would I even want it to be tame and calm? Not in my better moments. And my sincere pastoral advice is the same to you.
So as you lay your head upon your pillow tonight, take a deep breath … and feel the spirit of God within you. And pray that the grand strength of this Spirit will never fade or wane or dissipate in your life.
Power of the eternal Father, help me. Wisdom of the Son, enlighten the eye of my understanding. Tender mercy of the Holy Spirit, unite my heart to yourself. Eternal God, restore health to the sick and life to the dead. Give us a voice, your own voice, to cry out to you for mercy for the world. You, light, give us light. You, wisdom, give us wisdom. You, supreme strength, strengthen us. Amen.
~~ A prayer of Catherine of Siena