When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” ~ John 20:19-23
Spirit and breath are the same word in Greek and in Hebrew.
Pneuma and ruach. (now you know where we get the word "pneumonia" from).
So when Jesus gives his Spirit, he gives it with his breath. And with that breath, he gives his peace. He grants peace. He desires peace.
Admittedly, just coming out of the COVID pandemic, the idea of someone breathing on us isn't something we're very keen about. Not exactly something that sounds very peaceful.
But what is it we are told to do when anxiety is pushing us over the edge? When stress is overwhelming us?
Breathe in deeply. Count to 4. Hold your breath. Count to 5. Breathe out deeply. Count to 8.
Breath is the very thing of peace. It is the thing that can calm us. It is the thing that literally gives us life.
Jesus gives his Spirit with his breath,
So breathe it in. Take it in deeply and let it bring you peace.
Help me to breathe in your Spirit of peace, God. And let it move me to share that peace with others. Amen