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The word is ... exhale

January 8, 2018

...well said

Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.

EXHALE

By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg

Happy 2018 everyone! “Exhale” is something that feels needed after the frenetic “Who-Knew-Christmas-Eve-Could-Fall-On-A-Sunday” that we had this year. My post-Christmas cold and I needed a big nap and a huge exhale. So perhaps part of what we are called to at the turning of the year is the exhale of rest, the exhale of giving thanks and remembering what God has done in the year gone by.    Exhale. Certainly, this is a good thing to do.

But in my spirit, I am aware not just of the recovery time that follows a busy December, but the turning of the year to something new.

Have you ever thought about what happens when God “exhales”? When God exhales, things happen. The divine breath breathed out, “Let there be light.” The divine breath brought forth Jesus, born of the Holy Spirit, the Word made flesh. When God exhales, life bursts out all over. When God exhales, clay, dry bones, terrified disciples, they all get new life.

So, after a post-Christmas, pre-Epiphany exhale of thanksgiving, and a moment to rest, let us be ready for the movement of the Spirit that calls us forth again to serve in 2018.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isa. 55:10-11).

Jesus is God-With-Us, friends, and the light shines, and the word has gone out from God’s mouth, to accomplish God’s kingdom purposes. So take a breath, my friend.

Exhale.

And get ready for God’s mighty Spirit to fill our sails for more transformed lives, more light, more hope and more life. Can’t you feel it? Like the rush of a mighty wind. Bring it, 2018. Exhale.

By Rev. Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Now one more time, breathe all the way in, hold it, hold it, hold it! Now breathe all the way out.

This was how my AP English teacher started every class when I was a junior in high school. She was convinced that doing breathing exercises for the first few minutes of class would set the tone and get us focused for the work ahead for the next hour.

Personally, I thought it was nuts. This was an AP English class. We were trying to improve resumes, get ready for college and get a grade. We didn’t have time for this breathe in and breathe out foolishness. That is until I asked her why we had to do it.

What she said has stuck with me till this day. She told me: This is an afternoon class. By the time you all get to me, you have done a morning of school work, had lunch, hung out with friends and suffered some meltdown over teenage angst. So I want you to breathe fresh air in and intentionally breathe out all that has already happened today. I want you to take a minute or two to clear your mind, reset your emotions and get ready for the work that we have to do for the next 50 minutes. So we inhale the good, exhale the bad so that we can be ready for what’s ahead.

As we enter into the new year, take some time to breathe. Before you make a plan, before you make a resolution, take some time just to breathe. Inhale the graciousness of God for allowing you to see another year. Exhale the trials, tribulations and disappointments of the year before.

Inhale the smell of fresh opportunities, new beginnings and unblemished plans for the future. Exhale doubt, disappointment and the fears that hold us back.

It’s a new year for all of us and we have a lot to do, so reset, restore and release all that was last year, so you can embrace all that can be this year.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Take a deep breath of the future..., now, exhale.

 

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