While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” - Matthew 26:6–13 (NIV)
On Wednesday Jesus did nothing. Imagine that. I’ve often thought of the weight of these days in the heart and mind of Jesus. As the shadow of the cross imposed itself, everything must have taken on a new significance. The fate of the world literally hangs in the balance. I’m amazed at the profound truths to be learned by simply noticing what Jesus did. He went home. He learned a lot. He taught a lot. He spent time with His closest friends… yes, he had them. He washed feet… and of all things… one day… He did nothing. I’m sure He really did something, but nothing that we are told about. Nothing that made headlines, or got recorded, or was retold later. Maybe Jesus just breathed in and out - and rested. Maybe He rested his soul and body for the road ahead.
When was the last time you did nothing? Even when the whole world shuts down, most of us still find it hard to rest. We seem to find new ways to exhaust our minds and bodies. If this were any other Holy Week, we'd have increased our activities and commitments exponentially to make the Easter season “special”. The person around whom the Easter season was born, found a day to do nothing. Maybe today would be a good day for you to stop, breathe, and rest. I wonder what Jesus gained from that day. I wonder what Yahweh, the Father, told Him. I wonder how the Holy Spirit used that empty space. I wonder how important that day of rest really was in the face of all that Jesus would carry. Fittingly… in the evening… in a beautiful moment… orchestrated by a loving Father… Jesus was anointed… graced… loved… prepared.
I wonder how important such a day would be for you? I wonder what blessings the Father might pour out… if we took the time to do nothing but breathe?
Today's Breath Prayer
Today we will pray the name "Yah-weh" as we breathe in and out, in a posture of rest. Sungshim Loppnow writes a beautiful explanation of this Yahweh Prayer on the Presence and Practice blog: "What if it is God who initiates conversation (prayer) within us and all we need to do is to simply let God pray through us? If this is the case, prayer does not need to be an arduous task to manage, but a restful union to enjoy. Did you know that the Jewish name for God – Yahweh (JH-VH) – was not spoken, but breathed? It is known that only consonants are written in the Hebrew script. When you correctly pronounce the consonants in the sacred name, Yahweh (JH-VH), you’ll notice that you cannot use your tongue or close your lips. In fact, the sound you hear would sound like breath, inhalation and exhalation. On the inhale, the “YAH” is sounded, and the “WEH" on the exhale."
You really should read the entire post for the full explanation, but she goes on to say, "How many times do you find prayer hard? Sometimes simply because you are physically tired, or sometimes because you are in so much pain and so weak that you do not have any energy to utter any words. What if the true reality is that God is praying within you and through you already? What if it is true that you are already calling Him out? Do you notice that you are breathing? Do you notice that you are breathing now? Whether or not you are aware of it, God is always helping you stay in a conversation with Him. The evidence of His work is your breath. In each breath you take He has made it possible for you to say His name. What an amazing grace it is!"
- Breathe IN and say, “Yah”
- Breathe OUT and say, “Weh”
- Repeat three times and notice the effect this prayer has on you
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