Jesus’ breath over the disciples in today’s gospel (Jn. 20:22) echoes back to that first breath of God in Genesis: hovering over the dark waters, the formless waste. Just as God breathed life into creation, so God breathed God’s life into human beings, bringing us fully alive.
Just as creation was in chaos, so too the friends of Jesus were disrupted, definitely NOT their best selves, cowering in fear behind locked doors. As God once brought peace and order to creation, so Jesus brings peace to them.
When Jesus says “receive the Holy Spirit,” whom does he send? In the Hebrew scripture, the Spirit of God was called SH’KEENAH, God’s dwelling among the people. This vibrant presence accompanied them to encourage them, to be the compassionate one in their midst, to give them vitality in their struggles.
Today we invite the Spirit to come again, continuing this work, because creation isn’t a one-time event. We call among us the spirited energy we need to heal, free, playfully lure us into the depths of love. Come, Spirit: inspire joy, care for the environment, and the transformation of systems that oppress and destroy.