The Breath of God (Pentecost)

And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” John 20:22 (for the context of the whole chapter click here).

Just as air is vital for our physical survival, so the regular breath of God is essential for our spiritual health. We readily understand the physical world, but the concept of the spiritual realm can be less easy to grasp. Indeed, the idea of spirituality is frequently mentioned, but often not defined, and its very nature makes it somewhat nebulous.

In the Bible, the word for ‘spirit’ and the words for wind and breath are closely linked. John portrays the Risen Christ breathing on his disciples his life giving breath, the very energy of his being in an act of new creation.

This life giving energy of the Spirit transforms men and women, shaping them to share God’s radiance and Christ’s saving love. It’s an energy that binds his people together, summed up in the Greek word koinonia, which we can translate as communion and fellowship.

The Holy Spirit at Pentecost recreates us in the image of the God of love, and enables us to live in Christian fellowship. This is the heart of Christian spirituality, not a vague and spongy otherworldliness. The transforming grace of the Holy Spirit also creates a passion in individual lives and collective fellowships for the welfare of others and a deep longing for God.

Pentecostal spirituality is about human lives being shaped by the life of Jesus Christ, with people finding their meaning and identity in the pattern of his self giving love. This Christian spirituality is not an escape from the world, but living in the real world, a world that can be transformed by God’s grace.

Let me share some words and poetry by Harry Read:

We had not long been appointed as Territorial Commanders to the Australia Eastern Territory, when we met the wise, gracious and widely experienced Colonel and Mrs Colonel George Carpenter, the son and daughter-in-law of the late General and Mrs General George L. Carpenter.

In the course of a thoroughly enjoyable exchange of experiences, Colonel George’s wise words to the fledgling Territorial Commanders were: “You don’t have to work harder, just hoist your sails higher to catch the ‘Wind of the Spirit’.”

With sound of rushing wind the Spirit came,
His very nature full of mystery.
The ‘Wind of God’, His Word reveals His name,
The cleansing, stirring wind of liberty.

Like Trade Winds He maintains His course with ease;
An evidence, and means of massive power
At times unscheduled, like a wayward breeze
Caressing life and bloom on tree and flower.

“Great Wind of God, refresh our stagnant world,
Bring life to every heart and mind and soul.
Direct our ways as we, with sails unfurled
Ourselves abandon, to Thy strong control.”

We need not strive a meagre goal to gain –
We hoist the sails and He will take the strain.

…suddenly there came from the sky a noise like that of a strong driving wind…
Acts 2:1-3 (New English Bible)

Language of the Soul, Harry Read’s latest book of prayer poetry is available in every country in paperback or Kindle.

Order your copy here:

And Heart Talk, Harry Read’s first book of prayer poetry, is now also available on Kindle here:

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