Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World

The Breath of God

January 12, 2021 Pastor Dave Tucker Season 5 Episode 5
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
The Breath of God
Chapters
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
The Breath of God
Jan 12, 2021 Season 5 Episode 5
Pastor Dave Tucker

Cumberland Presbyterians see baptism as a sacrament. We baptize because God has taken one look at us… created in God’s image… and has said, “That’s my Son, that’s my Daughter, They are created in my image, and they are VERY GOOD. God has made covenant with us that says, I choose these humans. The baptismal waters are a seal of that covenantal relationship between God and Humans!

Based on Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Mark 1:4-11, & Acts 2:1-5
Originally Preached January 10th 2021  

Show Notes Transcript

Cumberland Presbyterians see baptism as a sacrament. We baptize because God has taken one look at us… created in God’s image… and has said, “That’s my Son, that’s my Daughter, They are created in my image, and they are VERY GOOD. God has made covenant with us that says, I choose these humans. The baptismal waters are a seal of that covenantal relationship between God and Humans!

Based on Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Mark 1:4-11, & Acts 2:1-5
Originally Preached January 10th 2021  

THE BREATH OF GOD
Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Mark 1:4-11, Acts 2:1-5

This morning I would like to overlay the passages we have read this morning to discover that there is a definite theme that we can utilize to (a) better understand the Holy Spirit, (b) gain a better glimpse of the role of the Holy Spirit, and (c) have a better understanding about how Holy Spirit sees us and what Holy Spirit wishes to tell us.

First of all, let us explore the presence of the Holy Spirit in the creation story. If we are not careful, we can completely miss her presence because she goes by so fast! And yes, The Holy Spirit is Female as we shall discover as we overlay these passages on top of each other. But I’m getting ahead of myself! Genesis 1:2 states that a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. When we go back to the original Hebrew language, the original word for wind is “ruach,” other translators have also interpreted this word as breath, or Spirit. So, we are literally reading about the Holy Spirit being present and the creative force behind the creation of the heavens and the earth! Now, here is where things, at least for me, get exciting. Most languages EXCEPT English, have genders for their nouns. Hebrew and Greek are no exception. Ruach, is a feminine noun! The breath of God, the Holy Spirit, the creative force behind creation, is female! Another thing to take note of is what happens in Genesis 1:26-27. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. This is impressive stuff! We were created in the image of the triune God! (Let US create humans in our image.) We all bear the image of God. Not only that, When God looked at God’s creation of humans, God said, “It is very good! This is a PROFOUND revelation as we look at our social and political climate today! How can we have an understanding that all humanity bears the image of God and still mistreat each other!? When we mistreat others… when we call each other names… when we devalue others because they look different, or they act different, or they behave different…. We directly attack our creator God!

Turning to our Psalter lesson for today, as we overlay this passage over the creation story, we see the name of God rendered as the name too holy to pronounce YHWH. There are theologians and spiritual practitioners who say that perhaps the name YHWH is designed to be a breath. And perhaps our very breath is actually a prayer to the divine. YH’ (Breathe in) Wheh (Breathe out). This understanding helps us to become aware of God, through the Holy Spirit is all around us and is literally the very air that we breathe! There is another thing we see. The “Voice” of God. I don’t believe that we would be stretching too much to say that utilizing this overlay, the Voice of God can also be synonymous the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit… Especially when we read Psalm 29:3, “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters. (Genesis 1:2, a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.)

Now, let’s overlay our gospel lesson on top of what we have already read. It is the story of Jesus being baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan River. This is Baptism of our Lord Sunday… Here we see the Holy Spirit descending as a dove with a very special message. Let’s read that again… Mark does a wonderful job of setting the scene. Mark 9:10-11. “And just as [Jesus] was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” We have some interesting things going on as we overlay this on what we have already read. First, the dove in this passage is gendered feminine, once again giving the Holy Spirit feminine qualities. We have water and the spirit moving over the waters as in creation. And we have a special message from the Spirit. This is my beloved son… I am very proud.” Today, we Cumberland Presbyterians see baptism as a sacrament. We baptize because God has taken one look at us… created in God’s image… and has said, “That’s my Son, that’s my Daughter, They are created in my image, and they are VERY GOOD. God has made covenant with us that says, I choose these humans. The baptismal waters are a seal of that covenantal relationship between God and Humans!

One more passage to overlay over this beautiful understanding of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4,  When the day of Pentecost had come, [the disciples] were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Okay, first, Where were the disciples when the Holy Spirit descended? They were together! Friends, unless we can come together as siblings of Christ…. Brothers and sisters created in God’s image, we can have NO HOPE of the Holy Spirit working in our church. Second, and as a side note, the original Greek word for Wind, in this passage, is once again rendered feminine. 

So, when we take these passages in totality, there are several take-aways that I would like for us to pay attention to.

1)   The Holy Spirit is part of the triune God

2)   The Spirit is the breath and creative power of God

3)   God is the very breath we breathe

4)   We were created in God’s image… we all carry God’s image.

5)   When God created us in God’s image, God said that we were very good, in the creation story.

6)   God, through the Holy Spirit makes covenant with humanity

7)   The baptismal waters are a seal of that covenant. So is the blood of Jesus… which is for another sermon.

8)   Through the waters of baptism, the Holy Spirit restates that we are very Good.

9)   The Holy Spirit can only do her work when we are together living and loving as brothers and sisters of God.