And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
There is something about that word for me.
Not like the word "to blow." If that word had been used I would have had an image of someone like Louie Armstrong distending his checks to demand the chords and tunes he brought from that mighty horn.
It would imply force. Violence even.
But that is not the word.
The word is “breathed.”
You have to be close to breathe on someone.
Closer to breathe into them.
It is not cooled quick air from your checks. Oh no. It is the warm, moist breath from deep in your lung gently moving up from the back of the throat out a gently opened mouth.
Not sexually. A different maybe more powerful intimacy.
Like when you were just a child and your father picked you up. You rest your head on his shoulder, burring your nose into his neck, the collar of his shirt and are overwhelmed by the smell of his cologne, his morning cup of coffee… the “smells” of “him," lost in the strength of his presence.
Or the smell of your mothers hair as she stepped out of the bathroom still drying it. The fragrance of her soap and shampoo.
The intimacy of family. Safety. Peace.
This is not the only time we read of the breath of God.
In the end of the book of John we read again of God's breath upon us. We are told of Jesus doing something strangely similar. And in fact it is one of the last things we are told of him doing.
I wonder if that means something?
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
Can you see this?
If you read it too fast you might not.
Something uncomfortably intimate just happened.
The verse says Jesus breathed on his disciples.
It is strange I’ve never heard this passage preached on. People don’t seem to know what to make of it. So we only preach about the power. We understand power (or think we do).
And sadly miss the obvious.
Yes there is power. Of course there is power. God is present, how can there not be power?
When a child rest their parents arms there is never a question of power.
But if you get lost focused on the power you may miss the deeper real purpose of the Holy Spirit.
I am convinced the Holy Spirit was never about the power. Power is the after effect, the consequence of God being present.
No. This gift of the Holy Spirit is about so much more.
It is the gift of intimacy...
Intimacy with God.
And dare I say,
God’s desire for intimacy with us.