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As long as my breath is in me
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
As a boy I imaged God as ‘way up there’! I was sure God was high above my bedroom ceiling through which I attempted to launch prayer. I knew He was higher than the mountains, higher than the blue sky and moon. Even on Sunday in church I thought God was looking down on us from way up high. For me that meant God was also personally far above me and emotionally distant. It was hard for me to think of God as caring about my everyday life and problems if He kept Himself so far away.
Then, to paraphrase Paul, when I became a man, I put away childish things and thoughts about God. I began to see, both in scripture and in life, that God is intimately present to us. In today’s scripture Job teaches that God is in this breath we are taking, and the next breath and the next: “As long my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils….” The very breath we are breathing is the Spirit of God breathing life into us! We are breathing in more than just oxygen, carbon dioxide and argon, we are breathing God’s breath! That’s how close God makes Himself to you!
If we have missed the indescribable closeness of God described in today’s Scripture, we would find it the first page of the Bible: “The LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Adam was but inert dust until God breathed life into Him. And God kept breathing life into him until the moment Adam breathed his last. And that is true of you and me as God breathes life into us, until the moment we breathe eternity’s air.
How do you think of God? How do you image Him? Is God far away? He is as St. Augustine said, closer to you than you are to yourself! The breath you draw in this moment is God breathing into you. That’s how very close the God is in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
These incredible words of Job about the Spirit of God being in our very breath leads me to pray in a way I find very meaningful. You might like to try it! I like to pray like this while sitting relaxed in a chair, or in the middle of the night in bed.
- I begin by slowly taking in a few deep breaths in order to relax and become still. [I learned breathing like this with patients in the hospital ER, to help them calm by drawing some deep breaths. It works! ]
- After slowly taken some deep breaths, I then breathe in, and image God saying to me, “I love you.”
- I return God’s breath to Him, saying back to Him, “I love you.”
- I repeat this for the next several moments, drawing in God’s loving breath of “I love you”, and loving Him back!
A fellow traveler,
You will bring water from rock for the community.
We take our name from the Bible’s story of the archetypal Exodus journey during which the people of God came to a place in the desert wilderness where there was no water. Yet, it was there in a hostile wilderness that they experienced God’s provision of water for them and leadership into a new future. We trust in a God who still provides, renews and leads His people.
Rooted in the Word
We are a ministry of Christian renewal rooted in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, as He reveals Himself through His Written Word, the Bible. Through the Written Word we encounter the Living Word in the incomprehensible wonder of His love. We are mindful that knowledge, even of the Bible, “puffs up” while love “builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We engage the Scriptures seeking to love more and know more of love. We purpose to search out God’s Word with both our minds and our hearts.
Ecumenical in Outlook
We honor all followers of Christ who have gone before us, and all who are among us now. We have much to learn and receive from all who have a lived experience of God’s transforming love. By reaching out to embrace the universal Body of Christ we strive to balance orthodoxy (right belief) and right living (orthopraxy).
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.
(Rupertus Meldenius, 1582 – 1651)
Experiencing the Living God
We thirst to know God and not just to know about Him. We long for a living experience of God. We believe that God breaks into our world on the holy ground of His Word, and seek through His Spirit a living encounter with Him there. We daily aim to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30).
The arms of God be around my shoulders,
The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
The sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
The work of God’s church in my hands,
The service of God and the neighbor in my feet,
A home for God in my heart,
And to God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
—Fursey of Yarmouth, 6th century Irish monk