Breathe on us, breath of God

4/18/2006

“Breathe on me, breath of God,

“Fill me with life anew

“That I may love as thou dost love

“And do as thou dost do.” — “Breathe on Me, Breath of God;” “United Methodist Hymnal,” page 420

The Gospel lessons for Easter vary from year to year, moving from Matthew to Mark to Luke to John. The Gospel lesson for the Sunday after Easter is always the same.

In John 20, the disciples huddle in fear and Jesus appears among them, wounds visible, vibrantly alive. Jesus breathes upon them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

This is John’s Great Commission, enriching for us alongside the Great Commission in Matthew. In Matthew 28, Jesus instructs us to “go, make disciples, teach and baptize.” In John, Jesus instructs us to “receive.”

Jesus is indeed with us to the end of the age, in resurrection life and light and power.

Mission flows forth from Easter light and life. God finds us in our fearful, doubtful, uncertain places and breathes on us. Like those first followers – Mary Magdelene, Peter, James, John, and all the others – we receive resurrection power as a gift. God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

It is a great and holy mystery, this Easter life. Christ is Risen!

Alleluia!