Today’s Bible reading
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. — Luke 23:46
More thoughts for meditation
The two Bible languages, Hebrew and Greek, both use a single word to mean “breath” and “spirit.” The primal image is when God breathes life into humans and they wake up as living beings in Genesis. It is a picture of inspiration.
On the cross we see the other side of every breathing in, the breathing out, the expiration. In God’s breath we receive our life. By God’s breath, we are given a death that is like the beginning of our next breath.
Jesus makes this very clear, as John records it, when Jesus sends out his disciples to populate a new humanity with words that parallel Genesis, “Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
XII Jesus dies on the cross Malcolm Guite [click title to hear it read]
The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black
We watch him as he labours to draw breath
He takes our breath away to give it back,
Return it to it’s birth through his slow death.
We hear him struggle breathing through the pain
Who once breathed out his spirit on the deep,
Who formed us when he mixed the dust with rain
And drew us into consciousness from sleep.
His spirit and his life he breathes in all
Mantles his world in his one atmosphere
And now he comes to breathe beneath the pall
Of our pollutions, draw our injured air
To cleanse it and renew. His final breath
Breathes us, and bears us through the gates of death.
See all Guite’s poems on the Stations of the Cross here
Suggestions for action
As Jesus breathed his last, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. A barrier has been broken, a gate has been opened. We are through as He is finished.
Today is a somber day, a death-sharing day. Wear black. Don’t eat anything. Turn off all the media. Read something that turns your attention to what is going on. Have a conversation about the crucifixion. Life is too short not to die with Jesus.