Advent with the Earth: Day 16 (Dec. 18)

What might God do with holy air in our bodies? On this planet?

The Power of Holy Air

Mark 1:1 – 11

“He [John the baptizer] proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'”
– Mark 1:7 – 8, NRSVUE

Advent typically showcases John as a herald of the coming of God. He invites people into river waters to experience baptismal transformation. His words foreshadow another baptism to come, however: immersion in holy air.

The word translated as “spirit” in these verses also means “wind” or “breath.” As Dale Martin notes in The Corinthian Body, these could be synonymous for ancient cultures because spirit was a physical reality akin to moving air to them. Though our ideas about spirit today may differ, the ancient way of connecting spirit and air can offer us a timely word.

If God is in all things, including the air around and within us, then air too is sacred. And if God’s coming is bringing divine breath, this baptism could touch and transform all things, just like at creation’s beginning.

What might God do with holy air in our bodies? On this planet?

With pollution-compromised particles affecting creatures across the earth, holy air is no small thing. It could sustain new breaths, raise quiet voices, scatter fresh seeds, and pollinate plants. With God, these gusts can preserve life and make all things new.

What could baptism in holy air mean for your ecosystems?

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Notes and Credits

Dale B. Martin, The Corinthian Body (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995).

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version updated edition of the Bible

Image of wind blowing tree is by Khamkéo Vilaysing on the Unsplash website