Welcome to Quiet Day!
If you are at Caroline Furnace: You are welcome to spend as long as you like today in prayer, meditation, and solitude. We invite you to walk the trails, sit by the lake, Passage Creek, or the spring, rest at a campfire circle or the steps of St. John’s Chapel, or pray the labyrinth.
If you are at home: We invite you to spend time today in prayer, meditation, and (hopefully) solitude. We invite you to walk your backyard, neighborhood, or nearby park, sit by a calming spot, or rest in a comfortable outdoor space.
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:6-9
Contemplative Reading: At our local peaceful protest in Winchester, VA, of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer, “I can’t breathe” was chanted over and over – the same words George Floyd said to the police officer as his life breath – his ruach – was choked out of him. At many protests nationwide, the words “I can’t breathe” have become a cry for justice. We invite you to reflect on the following in light of the Divine Holy Breath that enlivens us all, what a privilege it is to breathe, and what a responsibility it is to use our breath to make sure no one else’s breath is unjustly extinguished.
A Reflection on “Ruach” and Romans 8:6-9
Edited from a sermon by Pastor Liz of the Wildwood Gathering,
Olympia, WA, April 4, 2017
Have you ever stood in the forest and felt the breeze dance around you, rustling leaves and your hair? Have you ever stood on the beach and struggled to remain upright against the persistent force of the wind? Have you ever felt the gentle breath on your cheek from a loved one when they are so close you can feel their exhalation? One word cannot adequately express all of these. Sometimes our language is limited and inadequate.
What we read in our translations of the Bible as “spirit”, “wind” or “breath” are translated from one Hebrew word, ruach. Walter Brueggemann says; “The Bible struggles to find adequate vocabulary to speak about and name this unutterable, irresistible, undomesticated force that surges into history to liberate, heal, remake, and transform. We are left with this code term, ruach, to speak about what we know but cannot say.” Ruach is the wind that parted the waters and created dry land, it is the very breath that God breathed into humans in our creation, it was this spirit that parted the seas and allowed the people to escape from slavery in Egypt, it is the same spirit that Jesus claims and empowers the early church in Acts. This ruach is active throughout our sacred stories.
We are, inescapably, filled with the Holy Spirit, from our first breath to our last. As Paul reminds the early church in Romans 8, “You are not in the flesh, you are in the spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Paul is reminding the early followers of Christ that they too are filled with the breath of God and so should choose life accordingly.
Paul is saying to the people, you are filled with Divine Breath, live like it. We are not just flesh and bones, we have Divine holy breath within us. We cannot fully live unless we fully recognize that we are also filled with the holy breath of God.
It is this Divine breath, this ruach that fuels our passions and animates our life. It calls us to action and elicits compassion and love. This is no ordinary breeze, this is no ordinary breath. This is our life breath, it is the life breath of all living things.
Quotes are from Using God's Resources Wisely: Isaiah and Urban Possibility by Walter Brueggemann
Take a slow, deep breath. As you inhale, realize you are receiving God’s Divine Breath as total gift. Exhale slowly. The Spirit of God dwells in us all that we may live. Amen.
Dear God, thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen
In a world hobbled by pain and distress, loving Lord, help me experience the joy of your unconditional love. Amen.
Dear God, show me your mercy, keep me safe. Let me serve you, heavenly Father, as your Son, Jesus served you. Amen
Go in Peace, Serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.