It is God’s breath that brings life. The Genesis 2 account of creation says it was God’s breath that gave life to humanity. In John 20:22 Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them life—the Spirit. It is God’s breath that brought life to the bodies in the valley (Ezekiel 37:8-10).
Many of our congregations are like the bones in the valley—dry. We may have the structure—the body—but we lack the life. God can and will breathe on us again. That is the message here. God will restore us to life. But the restoration will not be a recreation of what was. When God gives life, it’s new life.
We must have a willingness to let God be God—to let God lead, to let go of what was and what is, to be brought by God where we need to be even though we do not always know whether that is. It means we have to give up our control over situations, people, even the Church. It will seem at first like death. The gospel is not so much about life as it is about resurrected life. Something has to die before there can be a resurrection. Trust God to restore life. If we’re to survive we must die to ourselves and seek the life-giving breath of God.
—Rev. Marty Aden
- What does it mean to be a steward of willingness? What does it mean to be a steward of life? How can we celebrate both of these?
- How can we talk about stewardship and give up control at the same time?
- How can we prepare our Church for God’s breath blowing through it? What part does prayer play in this preparation and anticipation of the Holy Spirit coming?
- How hard is it for us to let go so that God can make us anew? What would make this easier to do?
How Do I Act?
- Make a list of all of the activities of the Church. Which of these do we do by our power and which were brought about by the breath of God? Make a list of ways for the Church to be open to the breath of God in the life of a congregation.
- Practice letting go.
- Write a brief poem or play depicting the Holy Spirit coming and moving through the Church. Offer to make it part of the worship service now or during the season of Pentecost.
- Recall a time when you especially felt the Spirit moving through a worship service. Recall the events or actions that made you sense God’s presence. Reflect on the feelings that you were having. Pray, thanking God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and worship.