Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14: Breathing Peace

 What does it mean to be "children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Philippians 2:15)? 

I am reminded of the disciples hiding in a locked room in the days after Jesus had been crucified. They had witnessed horrific violence. They were traumatized by the injustice. They were in the midst of grief for their beloved teacher and friend.

Jesus came and stood among them and said "'Peace be with you' ...when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:21, 22). 

The disciples were afraid. Being afraid is understandable. The world can be scary. 

God designed our bodies to give us adrenaline when we are afraid. This adrenaline gives us the energy to run away from danger or to defend ourselves, if necessary. This is often called "fight or flight." This is a good thing in moments of danger. However, it is not healthy for our bodies to constantly be in "fight or flight" mode.

Breathing can help us calm our bodies. Soft belly breathing is a simple way to care for ourselves. I invite you to try it with me. 

Gently place your hand on your belly and become aware of your breathing. At first, do not try to change your breathing. Just acknowledge this is how you are breathing right now.
Breathe in through your nose and out your mouth.
Slowly deepen and lengthen your breath.
See if you can raise your hand as you are breathing.
Allow your belly to go soft.
Continue to deepen your breath.
Allow your mind to wander.
Keep bringing your focus back to the softness of your belly, the strength of your back, and your deepening breath. 
Do this for a few minutes.

The audio link below is of Dr. James Gordon explaining how soft belly breathing moves us from the "fight or flight" energy into the "rest and digest" experience that allows us feel the peace that connects us to God, to others, and to ourselves.

Please pray with me: 

Spirit of the living God, breathe peace in us, so that we might shine like stars in the world. Amen. 

Rev. J. Bentley Stewart
is Director of Student Life for Disciples Seminary Foundation in Northern California.He is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For six years, he served as a chaplain at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Currently, he is organizing the core team to begin a new Disciples worshiping community in Marin County, where he resides with Janel, his wife, their two sons, Carter and VanIke, and their beloved 110 lb. lapdog, Norman.

Our 2016 prayer vigil theme is Helping Our Children Heal from Violence. For more resources visit and 

No comments:

Post a Comment