I find myself attentive to my breathing lately. I feel attentive to taking in the cool morning or evening air and find it refreshing. I am aware that sometimes I need to take in a breath slowly and breathe it out even more slowly so as to center myself and calm my spirit. Maybe you have been doing the same thing. I’ve been thinking about our brothers and sisters on the West Coast and their inability to take in a deep breath right now without it being filled with smoky air. Maybe you had the same kind of wondering the other day when the haze of smoke from the fires covered our sun.
Yesterday I took my sister for an appointment in Rochester. She needed to have a Covid test done in Rochester, among other things. The Covid test was the last thing. She found herself very anxious in those moments. But the person who was providing her the testing immediately calmed her spirit. She asked my sister to take a deep breath in and blow it out through her mouth. As they practiced this breathing and relaxation technique, the technician used the technique to help her through the actual swabbing. And it worked! That breath in and breath out, slowly, calmed my sister's spirit and enabled her to have the procedure she needed. What a gift her breath was.
How are you breathing these days? Is your breath short and rapid from too many things to do and too many things to be worried about? Or is your breath strained because there are things in life that are difficult to take in right now? Or are you having some other breathing difficulty in these days of isolation and distance and strangeness?
The Holy Spirit, that presence of God that is always with us, always guiding us, always helping us through, is often referred to as breath or wind. So when you find yourself having difficulty “breathing,” take a moment to notice your breath. Notice how your lungs fill and empty with the pattern of your breath. And to be aware that every time you breathe in you are breathing in the power of God through the Holy Spirit. And every time you breathe out, be aware that you are breathing God‘s presence back into the world.
Wherever and however you worship this weekend, may you breathe in the power of God through the Holy Spirit that enables you to breathe out God’s presence into the world.
Becky Jo Messenbrink, Pastor
Eden Prairie United Methodist Church