Breath of Life

By the genius of modern space technology, we have been able to listen to the sound of the Martian wind as it streams across the Red Planet. The BBC also enabled us to compare the quality of sound transmission through the atmosphere of Mars, with the same sounds transmitted on our own planet Earth. The clarity and stability of sound passing along earth’s airwaves was strikingly superior to that of Mars. The exercise highlighted the enormous benefits we take for granted in our shared conversations, music, information and broadcasts. So many beautiful sounds reach us on the wind and lift our spirits. The woods throng with the chirping of nesting birds. The Alpine shepherds hear each other call across the valley. The lost lamb bleats and is heard by its mother. The sound of rushing water bids the traveller to come and be refreshed.

The breath of life that reaches us in myriads of ways enables us to function, communicate and connect.

Now we are looking to the power of the wind to provide the energy we need for our complex existence. Not that harvesting of wind power is new. Pictures of colourful windmills turning their great sails amidst glorious swathes of tulips create perfect, iconic images.

Nowadays, huge turbines stand sentinel on the hillsides and around our shores. Necessity has awakened us to finding solutions in the great force that has been a historical change-maker in the works of mankind. We can marvel again at the all-encompassing provision designed into this place we call home.

The Greek and Roman theatre players noted the benefits of building a stage where the prevailing wind would carry voices towards the audience ranked in tiers before them.

When Jesus was pressed by a great throng eager to hear his ministry, it was recorded that he stepped into a boat a short distance from the shore and began to teach. His was the significant voice that astonished the disciples as it calmed the raging wind and stormy sea, yet was so gentle with a sick child or a grieving widow. It was this same voice that made sense of national life with illustrative stories conveying divine wisdom, and brought the revelation of Good News that God’s love reaches out of eternity to embrace all who came to him by faith.

When Jesus finally called from the cross, “It is finished”, he was not simply conveying that his earthly ministry, as they had known it was to cease. He was assuring those present and all the generations still to come, that the work of redemption was complete and their debt was paid. Jesus was, in the full vigour of manhood, giving up his life and his voice, to usher in the new era of forgiveness, peace with God, and eternal life.

How do we recognise that voice nowadays amidst the clamour of sounds demanding attention, distracting and competing? Sometimes it is in the powerful oratory of a preacher addressing a vast gathering of souls, or in the hush of whispered guidance, or a message of loving concern and support. It is through our voices now that God conveys his challenging wisdom, his loving care here and now and assurance for the final journey home.

Oh breath of Life come sweeping through us
Revive your Church with life and power
Oh breath of Life come cleanse, renew us
And fit your Church to meet this hour.

Oh breath of God come breathe within us
Renewing thought and will and heart
Come, Love of Christ afresh to win us
Revive your Church in every part.

Iris Niven

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