Let Every Breath
On the day of Pentecost, we commemorate the foundation of the Church, the Body of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Acts 2. But what does that mean? The first clues are found at the very beginning of the Bible.
Before there was any life or order, the Spirit of God was already supervising things:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit (Greek pneuma) of God moved on the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
After organizing the heavens and the earth, God commanded the living things to appear, but for man He took a special approach, shaping Adam from the earth:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed (enephuseisen) into his nostrils the breath (pnoï) of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)
God gave us life through His own Spirit. But we, through sin, brought death to both our spirit and our flesh. Our all-powerful Creator, Who designed us, also knew how to undo the damage we did. In His love for us, His Son was born of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, proved Himself the God of flesh when He made from the dirt eyes for the man born blind (John 9), repeating the first part of Genesis 2:7. He later proved himself the God of spirits when He breathed on the Apostles, repeating the second part of Genesis 2:7:
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed (enephuseisen) on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Spirit (pneuma). (John 20:21-22)
Adam naturally received the Holy Spirit when the Lord breathed on him; the sinful Apostles, however, needed a reminder of Whose life they were supposed to have. He commanded them, and just a few weeks later, fifty days after the Passover, they obeyed:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind (pnoï), and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (pneuma), and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)
So on the Feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the full restoration of the life we were intended to have. The Holy Spirit (pneuma), the Lord and Giver of life, present at Creation, brought with Him the breath (pnoï) which He breathed (enephuseisen) on Adam at the beginning, then on the Apostles and on us, restoring to us the first life which Adam had.
Finally restored, we are able properly to obey the exhortation in the final verse of the final Psalm:
Let every breath praise the Lord! Alleluia!
Pasa pnoï ainesatō ton Kyrion; Allelouïa;