1/29/23 #Sermon: “The Breath of God” by Pastor Robbin Ferriman

Pastor Robbin Ferriman

I would like everyone to just take a moment to relax and get centered. Close your eyes and open yourselves to the Great Spirit, the Divine, God, or whatever you want to call you higher power. Let us take a deep breath in through the nose. Hold it. Exhale through your mouth. As you do so, release any toxins and negativity, cleansing your body. Take another breath in through your nose. Hold it. Then feel your body relax as you exhale through your mouth.

Did you know there is an element/gas in the air or oxygen that we just breathed in that is called argon? It is an inert element, which means that it doesn’t interact with anything else. It stays just as it is. This argon stays in the air forever. It floats around through space and time. All over the world. We breathe this stuff in over and over. We breath in each other’s particles of argon. Over and over. All through time. That means our grandparents, our great grandparents, and so on, have all breathed the same argon. We are literally breathing the breath of our ancestors. It connects us, still. We could be breathing in argon that dinosaurs have breathed.

We are living in this vast sea of Divine Life Force, and we breathe it in and out of us, every single
moment of our lives, until we transition from this world to the next. It connects us to each
other and to all the living creatures plant and animal.

Swedenborg says that air corresponds to all things of perception and thought, thus of
our faith. Our respiration corresponds to the understanding and thus to perception, thought, and
faith. Everyone in the spirit world breathes according to his/her faith.

We are surrounded and immersed, in the infinite living Divine breath. It is our influx
from God, that teaches us and loves us, constantly. Even evil people are immersed within it. It is
only a choice to reciprocate this unconditional love and wisdom or turn away from it. It is
always there for us, waiting and still giving us life, no matter what we choose. Some indigenous
people consider the air to be very sacred, as is all of nature. You can feel, hear, and smell the
air. It is spirit as well as life. It envelopes, embraces, and caresses us. Yet it is completely
invisible. It slips into our mouths, down our throats, filling our lungs, feeding our blood and our
hearts. Without it, we cannot act, speak, or think. The sacred breath is not just for humans
either. It animates and sustains the whole created world. Like the wind itself, the breath of God
infuses all of nature.

What the plants are quietly breathing out, we animals are breathing in; what we
breathe out, the plants are breathing in. The air, we might say, is the soul of the visible
landscape, the secret realm from whence all beings draw their nourishment. As the very
mystery of the living present.

The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram

The Hebrew language is one of the oldest languages there is. They have one word that is
used for both “spirit” and “wind”, ruach. In the Hebrew bible, this word, ruach, is used to
describe part of the creation of the world.

When God began to create heaven and earth – the earth being unformed and void,
with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind (ruach) from God sweeping over the water…

The spirit of God sweeping over the water, giving life. And later, God breathes life into
Adam’s nostrils. The Hebrew word that is used in this verse is neshamah, which stands for both
the breath and the soul.

The breath is very important in the Jewish mystical tradition. They believe that the
relationship between humans and God is best realized through the breath and breath work. It is
believed that King Solomon could lift nature’s physical veil from created things and see the
spirit within, by practicing breathing techniques that he learned from his father, King David. By
practicing these techniques King Solomon could invoke the holy breath, the inspiration of the

If prayer is pure and untainted, surely that holy breath that rises from your lips will
join with the breath of heaven that is always flowing into you from above. Thus, that part of God which is within you is reunited with its source.

A 19th century Hasidic master

This is why so many meditation practices involve focusing on your breath and breathing.
It physically relaxes the body and helps the mind to clear and focus, but it also helps to connect
one with the Divine.

In the Jewish tradition, God’s name was considered unspeakable. The word is Yahweh.
They would substitute that name with words like Elohim or Adonai, when they spoke or wrote
of it. They also didn’t use vowels, only the consonants. It’s original spelling is YHVH The name of
God was to be “breathed” when spoken. Consonants use mostly your teeth, tongue, and lips,
whereas vowels are breathier. For the Jewish community, you would have to engage in the act
of breathing to pronounce the name Yahweh. It is believed that the correct pronunciation is
meant to imitate the sound of inhalation and exhalation. The vowels were deliberately left out,
because of the sacredness and so as not to speak the Lord’s name in vain.

Swedenborg states that the vowels stand for the sound and in the sound, there is the
affection. The sound of angels’ speech is responsive to their affection, and the articulations of the sound, or the words, correspond to the individual ideas that stem from their affection.

Vowels do not belong to the language but to a raising of its words, by means of sounds,
toward various affections according to the state of each individual. So, in Hebrew the vowels are not written and are also pronounced variously. This enables angels to recognize what someone’s quality is in respect to affection and love.

Heaven and Hell, # 241

Breathing is vital to our biological as well as to our spiritual lives. God breathes life into
the nostrils of humankind. The Spirit is the “breath of God” the animating force that fills our
lungs, and Jesus, breathes on the twelve disciples, as he sends them into the world, as a ritual
to symbolize the presence of the Spirit with and in them. With every breath we take, we are
speaking the name of God. It is the first word we speak when we are born, and last word we
speak at the end of our life.


May God’s Spirit surround you,
and those whom you love.
Rest now, in that calm embrace.
Let your hearts be warmed
And all storms be stilled
By the whisper of His voice.