“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotions for April 3, 2022. We will all have a moment like that, when body and soul separate.
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
If you’re a fan of Martin Luther’s morning and evening prayers, you’ve often prayed, “Into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things.” Just like Jesus. It may or not be our final prayer, but it is a reassuring way to open our eyes first thing in the morning and close them before we fall asleep at night. Our lives are in his hands.
We will all have a moment like that, when body and soul separate. We may be awake and aware like Jesus. We may be asleep when that happens. It may happen suddenly, without warning. Family and friends may be gathered around us. Or we may be alone. We don’t know how or when, but we will all breathe our last.
I don’t remember my first breath, but I probably wasn’t very happy about it. Most of us let out a nice loud healthy cry when we are born. Our lives are filled with breathing from that moment on. We’ll take big breaths to blow up balloons, play musical instruments, and swim underwater. We’ll breathe in some wonderful smells along with some stinky odors. We’ll breathe heavily when walking up a flight of stairs or running around a track. We’ll take more than 672 million breaths in our lifetime. And one of them will be our last.
That’s a sobering truth. It’s also the reason Jesus took a first and last breath. He came to suffer and die for us. But his last breath wasn’t actually his last. On the third day his lungs again filled with air and he came back to life. He rose so that we, too, would breathe again, at the resurrection. And there will never be a last breath again!
How long can you hold your breath? Long enough to make your hiccups go away? Long enough to change a messy diaper? Long enough to swim an entire length of the pool? Long enough to drive all the way though a tunnel?
That’s a crazy way to think of death, isn’t it? It’s just like holding your breath until the trumpet sounds and Christ comes in glory to raise us from the dead. The glory of that day won’t take your breath away. It will give you new, eternal breath.
Into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things.