Sept 2018, Christ Mountain Top
the Psalm, Psalm 104:24-35
2 Kings 4:8-37
remember watching a documentary film about a Bible translator and missionary among
one of the tribes on the island of New Guinea.
The people among whom she lived believed that the human soul was
physically located in the throat. If a
person was sick and became incapable of speaking, they were considered dead –
and they were buried and mourned. It is
a horrible thing to imagine.
all have a way in which we visualize the location of the soul, whether
physically or metaphorically – perhaps in the heart, perhaps in the mind. For the ancient Hebrews, soul and body were
inseparable. (It was Plato who first
spoke about an immortal soul and a mortal body; Christian theology of
resurrection follows Hebrew understanding rather than the Platonic, and
imagines our essential humanity as embodied souls rather than as body-less souls.) For the ancient Hebrews, it was the soul that
gave the body life, and it began with the gift of God to the very first
human. When God made the first man, the
story goes, he bent over a lifeless clay sculpture and breathed into it, “and
the man became a living soul”.
this breathless body to alive”. It is interesting
to see the connections between the Hebrew understanding of the soul and that of
this one people in New Guinea. Those
people had to learn some new things when modern antibiotics were introduced,
but the ancient Hebrews were medically accurate (by 21st century
standards) to say that a body long without breath was no longer living.
fear, like the dementors from the Harry Potter stories, and had the life sucked
right out of you by some bad news, by a death or diagnosis, by a partner
choosing to leave, by a sudden job loss, you are reminded how important the
breath is to life.
of you” by a blow or a fall, or, “the wind knocked out of your sails”, the
sails of your dreams and ambitions, you are reminded how important the breath
is to life.
Elisha placed your mouth on the mouth of another, you are reminded how
important the breath is to life.
and watched them exhale for the last time, you are reminded how important the
breath is to life.
with a cape
w/ Caleb in the stroller – wind, make you feel alive
sends Gehazi ahead to check on the boy and to place his staff upon his dead
body. The staff was the symbol of God’s
power in the prophetic office, but it also allowed Gehazi to see whether the
boy’s chest rose and fell with breath.
But, no, “the boy didn’t wake up.”
boy’s body and prays, paces back and forth and prays, leans over the boy and he
sneezes – breath enters the breathless body and he is alive once more.
this breathless body to alive,/make every dying part of me revive.” What’s that “dying part” for you?
or entirely forsaken? “Turn this…”
depression? “Turn …”
heard the joke about “death and taxes” as the only inevitable things in
life. They are expressions of our
limitations, what we can’t quite get past or around or through, no matter how
hard we try or how talented we are.
There seem to be some exceptions – the folks who have accountants and
lawyers to help them with their tax loopholes – but though you can cheat Uncle Sam,
you can’t cheat death.
woman’s son can be answered, then what can God do for you? Ahead of us is a life without limits, a life
you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they
die and return to the dust. 30
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the
send your Spirit among us today, breathe your life into us today, renew us –
body and soul – today.