I can suffer from ‘letter mix-up’ when typing ‘church’ and write ‘chruch’ instead. Some describe church and faith as ‘crutches’ and they’re dead right; but there’s so much more to it than heavy leaning. ‘Air’ and ‘Water’ are vital crutches, without which we’d die. Without loving relationships we’re left bereft. To be human and live well requires ‘dependency’ and ‘interdependency’. But, built into our ‘being human’ is a tendency to ‘go it alone’, to be god of our own life and destiny, in charge; Frank Sinatra sang it, ‘My Way!’

That’s our choice, what can become a very lonely, conscious or unconscious decision, which cuts off and isolates us from the care and concern of others. At funerals our faces are rubbed in the bleak truth that we are helpless to save ourselves from inevitable death; that our own two legs and ego, which supported us through life, are not eternal crutches. I believe Jesus is one who won’t let you down when life seems lost forever; that, like the air we inhale, God’s Spirit can keep breathing eternal life into your soul. But it’s a type of breathing you need to learn here and now in this life to be vitally available in the next life.

Alas, many hold their breath to God’s gracious gift of New Birth and Eternal Life. Have you tried lately to see how long you can hold your breath: underwater, driving through a tunnel, entertaining kids? 1 minute, 90 seconds, longer? Apparently the longest voluntary breath holding for a male is 24 min 3.45 seconds, achieved by Aleix Vendrell, a professional freediver, in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2016. Mercy me, that takes some doing!

It can be tense when a new born baby enters this world and requires a wee smack or gentle aid to breathe, but oh the joy when it breathes in deeply and lets out a bawl as if their life depends on it. And oh, the deep delight when we first learn to open our hearts, bodies and beings to God’s Love in the Life-Giving Spirit of Christ. By God’s Grace we learn to look out for the interests of others as well as ourselves and our own.

Now, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, etc… and let the breath of blessing spread to others. You can only hold your breath for so long to God’s Love.