Now for something different. This is a special Sunday for Christians and the story of the tongues like flame and the mighty rushing wind is well known, today we look at the gospel of John’s account Ch.20 verses 19-23.
Come, Holy Spirit:
breathe into our prayers
your breath of life.
“Then Jesus breathed on them and ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” This is an echo of the Genesis creation story, where having formed the man out of the soil/dust we read that the Lord God, ‘breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.’ We can take from this the reality of the physical life we live, which Christians see as a gift to be enjoyed. Yet there is more on offer -life ‘in all its fullness’ ‘eternal life’ or the ‘indwelling Holy Spirit’, the way in which Jesus lives in the lives of his followers.
When this gift is accepted then there is an added dimension to life. Troubles are still real, death is still to be faced, yet there is something inside, pictured in the Gospel as the breath of life in that double sense. (Life as we know it & as we can know it)
Come, Holy Spirit:
fan the flame of love within us,
and draw us into the life of God:
Father, Son and Spirit.
The second prayer is a reminder that this is more than something for us to hug to ourselves. It is to enable Christians to be more loving.
Come Holy Spirit:
renew us and revive us,
that in our worship
and in our living,
we may live a life of love
for the praise and glory of God.
Today I have sought to bring out the meaning of this day, through these three brief prayers. From the 1st ‘breathe into our prayers;’ from the 2nd ‘fan the flame of love’; from the 3rd ‘renew us and revive us’.
(Prayers from Gathering for Worship.)
Loving God, open our hearts
so that we may feel the breath and play of your Spirit.
Unclench our hands so that we may reach out to one another,
and touch and be healed.
Open our lips that we may drink in the delight and wonder of life.
Unstop our ears to hear your agony in our inhumanity.
Open our eyes, so that we may see Christ in friend and stranger.
Breathe your Spirit into us,
and touch our lives with the life of Christ. Amen