The Breath of Life


Do not speak the name of God in vain.”  So reads the commandment.  The name of God is a mystery.  When Moses asks God for His name He responds with something that sort of translates to I Am Who Am.  That isn’t exactly a name.  To me it was God’s way of saying to Moses, and to all of us, that you can’t pigeon hole me, I am far greater than that.  But back to the commandment.  The Hebrews refused to speak the name of God, in accordance with the scripture.  This was a wonderful practice in that it put spirituality in its proper context.  God cannot be named.

Today we pronounce the name of God as Yahweh, which comes from the sacred Tetragrammatron YHVH.  As the Hebrews would not speak the word or even write it, but would instead use Elohim or Adonai, the correct pronunciation is not known.  There are different opinions on that, but the one that I like the best is Yod, He, Vav, He. Listen to the word.  It isn’t so much spoken as it is breathed.    Many are convinced that the correct pronunciation of the name of God is an imitation or replication of the sound of inhaling and exhaling.  That means that the one thing we do every moment of our lives is speak the name of God.  Not in vain, either,  but for life itself.  We must breathe.  We depend on it to stay alive, just as we should depend on God.  Think about that.  What a tremendous lesson in spirituality God built into us, and like most great lessons we miss it.

When He formed us from the dust of the earth, God breathed life into us, and after He was resurrected Christ breathed upon the apostles.  (The risen Lord breathes forgiveness, just meditate on that for awhile.)  Breath, air, spirit, wind; these things are seemingly nothing, but they are so important to us.  They are nothing, but they are everything.

When thought of this way, you begin to see that no one can pigeon hole God.  There is no Catholic or Evangelical way to breathe.  No Jewish or Islamic way to breathe.  Do sinners breathe differently than Saints?  We all breathe the same air as the divine spirit blows where it wills.


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