I open the newspaper in the morning and I find myself holding my breath.

A friend goes in for a COVID test and I find myself holding my breath. 

The “ping” of a news alert lights up my phone and I find myself holding my breath. 

I turn in my ballot and I find myself holding my breath. 

George Floyd doesn’t know justice, neither does Breonna, Elijah, Tony, and too many others and I find myself holding my breath. 

I see the pain in a loved one’s eyes and I find myself holding my breath. 

And then, like in the beginning when the wind of the spirit of God swept over the face of the waters, I breathe out, remembering the words, “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

I breathe because it comes from God.
I breathe because it is holy, light, and life giving to those in need.  
I breathe because the Holy Spirit is living within me, as close as my very breath. 
I breathe so that I don’t limit the in and out movement of the Spirit through me as I listen, tend, act, rest, and love. 
I breathe because God needs the deep inhales and exhales to continue the work of restoration in me and in the world.  
I breathe because the resurrected Christ breathed on the disciples when they were scared and locked behind closed doors to make them agents of forgiveness through the spirit. 
I breathe because it is a radical act in the face of fear. 
I breathe because the giving of the Holy Spirit of God is wildly reckless, blown over the good and bad and everyone in between. 
I breathe, and release all that I’ve been holding and return to God. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Community Prayer:
Beloved God, from you come call things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do that, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.