SATURDAY, September 5

Mark 15:33-39. Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Whenever I leave the Good Friday service, I am wrung out. The dramatic reading of the Passion and the emotional preaching drive home the tragedy of Jesus’ last moments on the cross.

Once I sat at the bedside of a dying friend. Each breath was labored. We had said our goodbyes earlier, and now it was just a matter of waiting for the body to catch up. Finally he breathed his last breath, and then nothing. Although I knew with all my heart that we would be reunited at the great day of resurrection, that last breath still overwhelmed me.

We are told that at Creation, God breathed life into the earth. Later, life was breathed into dry bones. On Pentecost, a rushing wind blew upon those gathered. Sometimes at baptism the priest blows upon the water. Breath is the symbol of life. The absence of breath is death.

But for Jesus, his last breath was not the end. Nor is it for us. Our body may die, our lungs and heart may stop, our breath may cease. And then God breathes upon us and new life in him begins.

PRAY for the Diocese of South Dakota (Province VI, USA)

Ps 30, 32 * 42, 43; 1 Kings 12:1-20; James 5:7-12, 19-20

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