Five Breaths

By: Dr. David Campbell

Take a moment and breathe.    Long breath in.   Long breath out.    Again.   And again.   Breathing is one of those things we do mostly without notice.  Now try something else.   Hold your breath.   Don’t go too long.  I don’t want you to pass out.   But the longer you go, the more tension you feel.   You want to breathe.  You need to breathe.   You have no choice.   Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled to breathe?   When I was a child, I was at a community swimming pool.  Some older boys thought it would be funny to wrap a wet towel over my head and push me in the deep end.   I couldn’t breathe and it was horrifying!    When you think about it, you notice your breaths.   When you are deprived of oxygen, you notice your lack of breath.  Other than that, we never give it a second thought.    It is absolutely essential to life, and yet we take it for granted.   I think the same is true for the breath of God.   It is essential for life.  Not God’s, but ours.   And yet we seldom give it thought.
How is the breath of God essential to us?   An excellent question.   One I have actually spent some time thinking about.    I do not hear God in an audible voice.   But I do hear it.  I try to make it a practice, in early morning prayer times, to spend some time in silence.    Just listening.   Often it is a thought that leads to another thought.   Such was the case with the breath of God.    I honestly don’t recall specific details, but God did speak to me of five breaths.   Five divine breaths.    They shape who we are as followers of Jesus.    They tell a story.  A divine, over-arching, amazing story of the God who creates, redeems and sustains us.   We are not who we are if any of these are missing.   
It begins when God breathed into Adam the breath of life.    Then Jesus came to earth as a baby, and drew his first human breath.   At the end of his life, scripture tells us he “breathed his last.”    On Easter, he conquers death and breathes anew.    And finally, the Holy Spirit was breathed into the believers on the day of Pentecost.   Five turning points in history.   
Over the next several blogs, we will explore each of these.   Take a deep breath and we’ll meet back here soon!
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