Stations of the Resurrection No.7

Through Eastertide we will be posting Stations of the Resurrection like this one to encourage meditation on the risen life of Christ, with short reflections written or compiled by members of the Community.

Jesus’ Breathes on the Disciples

John 20:19-23
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Reflection

Jesus breathes on the disciples the same Spirit that moved over the waters of creation and the same breath that said “Let there be light” – the breath that gave life and motion to Adam’s static body and Ezekiel’s dry bones – the breath that returned again to Jesus after he had breathed his last. Breath is still air brought into movement and time. Breath is our impermanence and our vitality. Breath is our power to exist from moment to moment in a world alive with motion, and to know the stillness that gives it life before each breath. Breath is our mandate to exist: to receive the Spirit and breathe it out into the world, changed and alive. We cannot breathe and be passive. We already have the power to forgive sins and retain judgment, to do justice, to act in love. The power of the Spirit is in us as surely and inescapably as our breath. As long as we are alive, there will always be another moment of stillness and another inhale – another breathing of the Spirit – another chance to begin again.