Symbols of the Holy Spirit 2:
Breath or a gentle breeze
There’s a little game I used to play with friends online. Take a song lyric and use Google Translate to translate it through different languages, say from English to French to German to Spanish and back to English. Here’s one I did from English to Greek to Portuguese to Arabic and back to English:
Breathe, breath of God: Fill yourself with life again.
Do you recognise the first line of the hymn, Breathe on me breath of God, Fill me with life anew? It has changed in meaning, hasn’t it. That is because words in one language do not have a direct equivalent in another language.
Now try another, simpler this time. Take the word Spirit, translate into Hebrew and back into English. The word we get at the end is Breath. Hebrew is a concise language with fewer words than English. The Hebrew word for Spirit, רוח (Ruach), can also mean breath, wind, moving air. It also means life.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:2
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. – Genesis 2:7
The Holy Spirit, the gentle breeze of God respects people. She will not force herself on people without their permission. (She because Ruach is feminine in Hebrew.) If you do not want the Holy Spirit then she does not come. If you pray, ‘Come Holy Spirit,” then she comes, gently, not to impose herself, but she comes into your situation.
It is the Holy Spirit who makes the praise of God possible, God’s Spirit joins with our spirit to sing the praises of God. The end of Psalm 150, the end of the last of the Psalms sums up what the psalms have all been about, praising God through the Spirit of God who enables us to praise:
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6
These are my prayers, may they be yours too:
Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew