Look up and Breathe

By Jack Flanagan

I have recently been reflecting on Jesus’ upward gaze and breathing, the in and then the out of it, and how this points out something of the Christian life.  It applies to our individual relationship with Jesus as well as our life as The Word of God.

The Lord invites us to look up, to the Father, to Him and to the Spirit, and then breathe in and receive.  The breathing out action follows and shows how we can bless others, how we can lift up to the Lord those before us and to love others, how we share the grace of God with others.  How we speak words of life within our families, to our children and grandchildren, and with our neighbors and with our world.  To people of peace in our path.

But first, looking up, the upward gaze.  Jesus looked up to His heavenly Father, in thanksgiving, for guidance perhaps – so he could see and then do what the Father was doing.  I suspect Jesus looked up often, checking in with the Father, perhaps uttering a short expression of praise and honor and thanks.  He looked up before multiplying the loaves and fishes. 

He was in constant communion with His Father, and in looking up he received, too.  He breathed in the Father’s love and life and Spirit.  His every breadth was one of receiving, not just inhaling oxygen, but the very breadth and life of God, the Spirit. 

But this inhaling was not just for his own benefit, but so that he now, full of the breadth of God, could then bless and heal and deliver and multiply.  He was dependent upon His Father.  So that in all He did and said, the Kingdom of God would come forth.

And so can this be in our life, one of looking up to the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, acknowledge our dependence upon Him, praising Him throughout our day, receiving God’s Breadth and joy and grace, and then exhaling in love and grace and blessing to others.  In this way, God’s kingdom can be built.  May this be our heart.

This pattern applies to our community life as well.  The prayer meetings are opportunities for us to come into the Lord’s presence, to look up and turn to the Lord God Almighty, to bow and worship, and then to breathe in His Spirit.  He is so wanting to impart to us all our hearts need and can receive.

Then, as we go out into mission territory; we’re breathers, breathing in the Spirit and breathing out all the grace and goodness and blessing of the Lord to a dying world.

At our June gathering, the Lord spoke to us many things.  This gathering followed Supreme Court’s decision regarding same sex marriage.  “We are in a new day, a new chapter in our country.  You can see signs of turmoil, it is a tempest, it is darkness as never before and it will grow worse.  But you are my children and you have light upon you…”  Another spoke of how in the past we depended upon the government to hold back the darkness and felt safe because the government held back darkness.  And yet another referenced Ps. 118.8-9: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”  Yes and amen.

So, look up, be good inhalers, find your refuge and confidence in Him, so that you can be effective stewards of his grace and light that He has promised to us.