by Ken Rolheiser
My Words are Spirit and Life 

“Sometime before dawn a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality” (Russel Moore).

In the beginning God created the earth. His Spirit moved upon the face of the waters. And when he created man from dust, he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. (Genesis 1-7). Through Jesus’ Resurrection a new creation began. 

At the Resurrection God put flesh and skin on dry bones, raising people from their graves, and breathing his Spirit into them. Many of the Saints who slept arose from their graves and were seen in Jerusalem. The prophecy of Ezekiel came true: “Come from the four winds, O breath …and the breath came into them, and they came to life” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).

“Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, my people. I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

Humankind was transformed as God became one of us. The mystery of Jesus’ continuing sacrifice echoes eternally. Theologians struggle with how this event moves through time and eternity. Thomas Keating offers us this metaphor about Mary of Bethany’s lavish gift of anointing Jesus’ body: 

By breaking the alabaster jar of very expensive perfume over the whole body of Jesus and filling the house with that gorgeous scent, Mary of Bethany seems to have sensed what Jesus was about to do on the cross. The authorities were set on killing him. What her lavish gesture symbolized was the deepest meaning of Jesus' passion and death. 

The body of Christ is the jar containing the most precious perfume of all time, namely, the Holy Spirit. It was about to be broken open so that the Holy Spirit could be poured out over the whole of humanity - past, present, and to come - with boundless generosity. Until that body had been broken on the cross, the full extent of the gift of God in Christ and its transforming possibilities for the human race could not be known or remotely foreseen.

We and the Church pray, work and live through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit renews and enlivens the effective work of the Church – to bring the Good News to all nations. The Spirit, the very breath of God in us, enlivens us.

Just as the lungs bring life-giving oxygen into our bloodstream and repair cells while expelling dead cells, bacteria and carbon dioxide, the Holy Spirit energizes our souls with the life of God in us while dispelling what is harmful and leads to death.

All scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Through Pentecost God breathed life into his Church. As we are in touch with the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, the Spirit brings: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

 The Word is living and active in us (Hebrews 4:12). Gifts come to us through the breath of Yahweh: wisdom and insight, counsel and power, knowledge and fear of Yahweh. (Isaiah 11). When Jesus left this earth to go to the Father, he left with us the Spirit that continues to renew and enliven us and all creation.

(560 words)