Learn to Breathe
A doctor stands at the end of the table and deftly pulls an infant girl from her mother’s womb in the last stages of labor. The act of conception has long since been forgotten, nine months of gestation have been fulfilled, and now, hours of pain have come to this moment. The first act of this new life.
The father, standing in the corner, expels his own breath that he has been holding for those tense moments. It is an excited sigh of relief that was triggered by his daughter’s first wail because it was a sign that she was breathing – that she was Alive!
With God’s good graces, this new infant daughter may live to 80 or 90 years of age before expelling her final breath. In between this moment and that one, she will take for granted the air that passes across the fibers of her lungs as a natural part of her living. Sure, there will be times when she will choke on a drink or find herself under water longer than she intended, and in those moments she will be reminded how precious that thing is which she has been taking for granted.
As I study and read about New Testament ecclesiology, I can see this same story reflected in the spiritual.
Take for instance how the church started.
Christ’s death was the catalyst needed to conceive the early church… without His part in the redemption of man to the Father, the church could not be born. Following His death we see a time of expectant waiting as His followers eventually find themselves in Jerasulem, in an upper room, gathered together not sure of what is going to happen.
And then it happens. A breath of air is breathed into the church. It supplies power and life.
The people outside are drawn to the wailing of this infant church and Peter stands and delivers a Spirit-inspired message concerning the Good News. When the people hear this message they are cut to the heart and ask what they are to do. And what we see is the process at work again.
The seed of faith was conceived in them as the breath of the Spirit worked through Peter….and he is ready to walk them through their own births. Much like the doctor in the first paragraph of my post.
These people needed to see that they were to become a new creation in Christ, that they had to turn away from the old things. And then much like a babe is birthed through the amniotic fluids, they would need to be baptized to symbolize their new birth. But one more thing would be required otherwise theirs would be a still birth. They would have to breathe.
2000 years later I am left to wonder if we see the affects of the stillborn around us. Or at the very least, individuals who have taken for granted the very breath that gives them life.
Are we a church that needs to learn how to breathe?