Offering This Breath (September 7, 2012)

…Opening To…

Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness. (Mother Theresa)

…Listening In…

The LORD God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. The LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east and put there the human he had formed. (Genesis 2:7-8; context)

…Filling Up…

We began Monday talking about offering ourselves to God. This is a wonderful thing to do, but it’s also rather vague. So on Tuesday we went smaller and talked about offering this year: our goals and our plans for the foreseeable future. Then on Wednesday we talked about offering each day as a gift back to God who gave it to us in the first place. This brings with it a change in attitude: not my, but we (God and I) are going about this day together. Yesterday we went smaller still to each action and talked about the challenging practice of offering our actions to God before we take them.

With each day, our offerings got smaller, and I think, more difficult to give. It’s really hard to remember to give each action to God. What’s harder still is offering what we are talking about today: each breath. We’ve already given our lives – that is, the totality of who were are. This is offering on a macro scale. But offering each breath moves such giving to the micro scale. Like days tumbling out into years, our breaths tumble out into our lives, so focusing on each breath is another way for us to give ourselves to God.

But what does it mean to offer each breath? Seems a little too poetic to be practical, right? At first glance, perhaps, but consider this. “Respiration” is the act of breathing. The “spir” in the middle of the word also finds a home in “spirit,” as in Holy Spirit. This is not a coincidence. When we offer our breath to God, we participate in the life and movement of the Holy Spirit. With each breath, we inhale and exhale the grace of God given via the Spirit.  When we breathe in, the Spirit nourishes our souls just as the oxygen nourishes our cells. When we breathe out, the Spirit rushes forth from us to come in contact with all those we meet.

Therefore, every word we speak is borne on the wind of Holy Spirit. Doesn’t this thought make you want to train yourself only to speak the truth in love, only to allow words that build up to leave your lips? When we notice the truth of God animating us through our breath, we remember just what God made us for: to love God and neighbor and to bring God’s kingdom a bit closer to earth.

So the next time you breathe (and I bet you just did), remember the Holy Spirit is moving through you.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you breathed life into the first human in the garden and continue to breathe life into me. Help me to live out my life remembering that you are sustaining me and calling me to follow you more closely. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, hopeful that I will have the desire and grace to give myself to you.

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