Being out with Covid has allowed my youngest son and I ample time to keep reading through The Chronicles of Narnia again. I cannot resist a child’s begging for one more page, but when it comes to Narnia stories, I cannot resist a child’s begging for one more chapter, especially when Aslan is on the scene.
As soon as Aslan is near, my son and I both sigh in relief, knowing everything will turn out alright. The thing is that Aslan’s interaction with his creatures are usually short, simple, and significantly profound.
This time around, I nearly lost my breath reading the scene in which Aslan breathes courage over the fearful Susan. As much as I want to be like Lucy (who doesn’t want to be like little Lucy?), I am far more like Susan who began listening to fears.
“Then, after an awful pause, the deep voice said, ‘Susan.’ Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. ‘You have listened to fears, child,’ said Aslan. ‘Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?’
‘A little, Aslan,’ said Susan.”
Aslan doesn’t lecture Susan on the useless of entertaining fears. He doesn’t chastise her for being more controlled by fear than faith. He merely points out the obvious, saying, “You have listened to fears, child.” And his antidote to her fears is neither a Ted talk on the power of positive thinking nor a penance to work her way back into his good graces. He merely breathes on her.
With a mere breath from God, the universe came into existence (John 1:1-5) . The Holy Spirit is the breath or wind of God who blows where he pleases (John 3:8). The enemy yells and connives and convinces in his native language which is “lie” (John 8:44). Not so our powerful Creator. He need only gently breathe new life into his children.
In light of the past three years of a pandemic spread through airborne respiratory particles, breath has gained a rather negative connotation. To sneeze in public these days is far more than a faux-pas. As we all know all too well, to be breathed on requires proximity. The longer you remain in someone’s presence in close proximity, the more likely you are to be breathed on by them and thus conferred the gift of their respiratory particles.
But this morning, even as we are still feeling sick from Covid, I find myself longing for the breath of God. I find myself fighting to fleshly urge to flee from him into busyness or productivity, intentionally training myself to linger in his presence.
I want his breath. I want his nearness. I want his words and his truth which drop like morning dew. I need him to breath courage over me, to strengthen my faith and diminish my fears. Even Satan’s most elaborate lies don’t stand a chance against the weakest sigh of the Lion of Judah. Even his most sinister schemes look like airy cobwebs when compared to the solid, unshakably good plans of the Lord of all history.
A little breath from him goes a long way. And this is why the Enemy trembles when we pray, posturing ourselves in dependence.
Pray with me that this modern hymn written by the Stewart Townend would be true of us this morning.
“Holy Spirit, living breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Let the presence of the risen Lord,
Come renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see,
Give me passion for Your purity;
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.
Holy Spirit, come abide within,
May Your joy be seen in all I do.
Love enough to cover every sin,
In each thought and deed and attitude.
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my strivings into works of grace;
Breath of God show Christ in all I do.
Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show Your power once again on earth,
Cause Your church to hunger for your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise;
Lead us on the road of sacrifice,
That in unity the face of Christ
May be clear for all the world to see.“
May we listen to the Lion, not the liar. May his words be on our lips and in our lives.