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HOLY SPIRIT, the life that gives life, You are the cause of all movement; You are the breath of all creatures; You are the salve that purifies our souls; You are the ointment that heals our wounds; You are the fire that warms our hearts; You are the light that guides our feet. Let all the world praise You! Amen.

—Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)



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breathe out


O how the crescendo of human cries in this babel has become almost intolerable! Many are wearied to the point of exhaustion. Cries for justice call out. Voices of anger, hate, and fear answer — always at the same time and sometimes from the same source. 100,000 U.S. Covid-related deaths, the image of a white police officer’s knee on a black man’s neck or of the gunning down of a black jogger. Meanwhile, presidential tweets threaten, international turmoil simmers, the compounding crisis of evictions looms, as protections and payments extended to millions of renters runs out, hurricane season arrives, a church in Mississippi burns. The WHO advises a second peak in countries that reopen too quickly . . . .


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breathe in



Like the murmur of the dove’s song,
like the challenge of her flight,
like the vigor of the wind’s rush,
like the new flame’s eager might:
Come, Holy Spirit, come.

To the members of Christ’s body,
to the branches of the Vine,
to the Church in faith assembled,
to our midst as gift and sign:
Come, Holy Spirit, come.

With the healing of division,
with the ceaseless voice of prayer,
with the power to love and witness,
with the peace beyond compare:
Come, Holy Spirit, come.

— Text: Carl P. Daw; Tune: Peter Cutts


listen to Maureen playing her arrangement of the hymn:



prayer is breath


Prayer is breath. We breathe to pray, if only to exhale. If only to empty our hearts in order that they may be filled. The Spirit, too, is breath. The second creation story in Genesis says God stooped upon the muddy bank, formed a man, and then breathed life into him.

“When you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.” (Psalm 104)


Blown by God towards Newness

The news is that God’s wind is blowing.
It may be a breeze that cools and comforts.
It may be a gust that summons you to notice.
It may be a storm that blows you
where you have never been before.

Whatever the wind is in your life,
pay attention to it …
and the blessing of God,
Father, Son and Spirit,
will abide with you always.

— Walter Brueggemann


Hymn: Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song, (Text: Carl P. Daw, © 1982 Hope Publishing Co., Tune: BRIDEGROOM, Peter Cutts, © 1969 Hope Publishing Co). Piano arrangement by Maureen Howell © 2020.

Prayer: Blown by God towards Newness, by Walter Brueggemann, from Prayers for a Privileged People, © 2008 Abingdon Press.