A blog written by the Rev Dr Roger Sturrock
as I write this blog we are in the midst of a huge upheaval relating to the death of the black American George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police in the USA. A white police officer knelt on George’s neck obstructing his trachea so that he could not breathe. George’s repeated cries of “I can’t breathe” have been echoed by large crowds of protesters all over the States and indeed, around the world. Unfortunately some of the demonstrations have led to violence ( there are always some who will jump on the band wagon to create trouble) but the long standing injustice and discrimination experienced by the black population in the USA has justifiably resulted in peaceful marches of protest.
The ability to breathe is fundamental to human existence and death is marked by our last breath. We are all very aware that the current pandemic of Covid-19 in its severe form attacks the respiratory system leading to considerable morbidity and mortality. Global pollution and warming has resulted in our Earth having ‘difficulty in breathing’ and yet one of the few benefits of global ‘lock down’ has been the clearing of the skies and our ability to inhale fresh air again!
This is the season of Pentecost when Christians celebrate the breath of God that energised the early church. One of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is wind or breath (Hebrew Ruach) and we read in the book of Genesis that the Spirit breathed life into creation and also into humankind (Genesis 1:2; 2:7). If George Floyd’s tragic death and his last cry prompts us all to breathe in God’s wind of justice and righteousness in order to redress injustice and discrimination, his death will not have been in vain.
The hymn writer Elizabeth Head puts it this way:
O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
till humbly we confess our need;
then in your tenderness remake us,
revive, restore, for this we plead.
O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart;
come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,
revive your church in ev’ry part.
If you would like to join in for tea and a chat which takes place every Thursday at 4.00 pm via ZOOM, please contact the Rev Dr Roger Sturrock who will provide you with details of the link.