When was the last time you just breathed?

Breathing is essential to life and, at the same time, is something we don't think about very much. The last time we might have even noticed we were breathing was when, during a crisis, we couldn't. Breathing is something we, as human beings, just do. On average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. An article from the Herald Tribune calculated that, on average, "a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day and 8,409,600 a year unless we get a lot of exercise. The person who lives to 80 will take about 672,768,000 breaths in a lifetime." That's a lot of actions we take that we don't pay attention to.

One of the blessings we’ve received, I think, from the rising popularity of meditation, yoga and other practices is that we're spending a lot more time noticing our breathing. During moments of silence, we feel the air entering and leaving our chest. When our kids get angry, we teach them to take a deep breath. And when we're holding a pose, we remind ourselves not to hold our breath. When we pay attention to our breathing, we're paying attention to life. One simple breath can help us slow down and notice what's essential in our life. And paying attention to the essential is what Lent is all about.

Starting on Ash Wednesday (March 6), we will spend 40 days with the essential Jesus. Through prayer, fasting and regular worship, we can discover who Jesus is for us. We'll breath in Jesus and, in the process, discover the life with God that is meant to fill our lungs. Lent is when we are invited into a deeper faith that forms a closer connection to God. In the words of Rev. David Hansen, Pastor of Spirit of Joy! Lutheran Church, “Lent is a season for changing your life, turning things around, for getting back on the right path.” This Lent, just breathe and discover your God.

See you in church!
Pastor Marc