- Oh my: it’s to be hoped they were all at 1.5metres distance and wearing masks!...
In both Hebrew and Greek the word for Spirit and the word for breath are one and the same, so on this Pentecost day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Breath; the breath that indeed spreads like a contagion – but a contagion of love. This is a holy breath, but dangerous in its own way, for it challenges everything that stands in the way of love and life. It is a breath that fans the flames of justice.
This is Reconciliation Week and I am reminded of Aboriginal teachers whom I have heard speak about listening to the land breathing, especially at dawn and dusk. During this lockdown period it has been easier to listen attentively to the land and its creatures and for many people there has been an opportunity to ‘catch our breath’. Through it we have come to a new appreciation of how much our human activities impact our planet and of the need, as Aboriginal elders have been telling us for generations, to redress the balance.
Perhaps the best thing that we can all do, for our own health and for the health of the planet is simply to breathe – in and out, deeply and simply, calming our own nervous systems, improving our lung function and slowing the frenetic activity that is so damaging in our culture. As we do so, we make space for the holy and dangerous breath of God to fill our souls and inspire our actions.
So, on this Pentecost day, let’s receive the Holy Breath – a breath of power that shakes our complacencies and fires us with enthusiasm to confront injustices, such as the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, and the mis-use of the resources of our planet. And let’s remember that to be filled with the Spirit is to become both holy and dangerous. Amen
by Penny Jones, for Pentecost Sunday, Week of Prayer for Reconciliation, Sunday 31 May 2020