Just Breathe

This hymn references Genesis 1 (the great hymn of creation) and Genesis 2
(the folk tale version of God planting a garden and setting gardeners to tend and enjoy it.)

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson
Tune Name: IVANY

Lyrics as Poetry

REFRAIN:
Just breathe, just breathe,
each breath is word-less prayer.
Just breathe, just breath,
God’s good is in the air.

The goodness of creation
encircles far and wide;
its healing graces dancing
is where we can reside.
Life holds the hope of wholeness
of calm and peace of mind;
the promise of renewal,
together we can find.

Just breathe, just breathe,
each breath is word-less prayer.
Just breathe, just breath,
God’s good is in the air.

Despite the dark of chaos,
the Spirit speaks of light,
and calls forth light and greenness,
new gardens of delight.
Abundant life now blossoms,
with food and place for all,
where seeking, struggling humans
are stirred by God’s own call.

Just breathe, just breathe,
each breath is word-less prayer.
Just breathe, just breath,
God’s good is in the air.

Through prophet voice the dry bones
are told to rise and dance;
the winds of God now blowing,
create new circumstance.
From valleys of despairing,
from cynic’s place of death,
we’re called to joy and justice,
communities of health.

Just breathe, just breathe,
each breath is word-less prayer.
Just breathe, just breath,
God’s good is in the air.

When scared disciples huddled
behind their firm locked door
the Christ that they had followed
demanded something more;
“Receive the Holy Spirit,
and leave this gloomy place;
create new worlds of vision
and daily practised grace.”

Just breathe, just breathe,
each breath is word-less prayer.
Just breathe, just breath,
God’s good is in the air.


Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 2023 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


From Ron: The tune is named for Paul (a long-distance kindred spirit in ministry) & Elizabeth Ivany whose back yard is a touch of Eden.


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A Reflection by
WALTER FARQUHARSON


This hymn references Genesis Ch 1 (the great hymn of creation) and Genesis 2 (the folk tale version of God planting a garden and setting gardeners to tend and enjoy it).  

As a child I often struggled for breath. A chronic bronchitis triggered by grain dusts, straw and hay, and undoubtedly by second hand tobacco smoke. Little was known about allergies and no one had made the connection between tobacco smoke and respiratory illnesses. I remember hours in a steam tent, the smell of eucalyptus oil and Friar’s Balsam. My parents each spent long hours sitting beside me, calming me, my dad usually reading aloud, my mother humming or singing. Each speaking into my periods of panic whispering “Just breathe. Just breathe. Gently. Slowly.” Touch and voice were saving medicines.

As a youth and adult I experienced occasional bouts when I knew again that breath was gift and never to be taken for granted. I learned too that breath became prayer and was a place of focus, of calm, of knowing the presence of God, the living Spirit.    

Even as a teenager I remember our minister talking about “Ruach” that one Hebrew word encompassing  breath, wind, spirit.   

The winds of God, the Breath of God, the Spirit of God, breathed over the shapelessness (Chaos) as creation unfolded as part of the very image and being of God. Infused, inspired, with God’s goodness and love.

Prophets like Elijah and Ezekiel knew that the winds, even the whispers of God, promised life. The winds of God breathed into individuals, and into the whole people of God, the very Life Breath of God. How dramatically Ezekiel speaks of the Valley of the Dry Bones and how the dry bones would shake, rattle and roll together and be animated when filled with the Breath of God! When we lose focus, lose hope and a passion for God’s justice and God’s care, we are dry bones. We no longer dance the dance of creation, the dance of liberation, the dance of promise.

Pentecost could be called the Celebration of the Winds of God.  The story of Pentecost which we know best is found in Acts 2.  A different version is found in John’s Gospel and is tied to the Easter Sunday message of the empty tomb. It calls for our attention.

The Breath of Life

Let us imagine that we have been listening to John the beloved disciple of Jesus. Gospelwriter is telling us about what had happened that morning. That Easter morning!

It was the first day of the week, the day after Sabbath, and on this first day of the week some of the disciples had gone to Jesus’ graveside.  The stone was rolled away, the grave-cloths folded. The tomb empty. Some messengers of God (that’s another name for angels) had said, “He is not here. He is risen. Death has not defeated Love.”

Carefully, John Gospelwriter recounts how Mary Magdalene had met Jesus in the garden – had spoken to him and had been spoken to in return. She had been assured that Death had not defeated Love.

John the story-teller pauses. The line isn’t there for us to read but it is as if he sighs and says, “Now I ask you, in the evening, that very evening, where will we find these disciples?” Again, he pauses. Maybe he repeats the question, “Where do you think we will find those chosen disciples? Another pause. 

Then he answers his own question! “They’re hidden away. The door is locked. These disciples aren’t going anywhere and nobody is getting in!”   

“They are hunkered down watching some playoff game, curled up with a good book, playing another of the endless games on their devices!” Whoops! Sorry!  That’s my voice, not John’s!

“No”, John says, “they’re hunkered down because they are afraid – afraid of the temple authorities who see them as heretics and trouble-makers – afraid of the Romans who say they are traitors – no friends of Caesar. Afraid of their neighbors who might laugh at them – again. Afraid of taking a stand. Afraid they won’t have the courage or the strength or enough faith, enough hope, enough love. Afraid and hunkered down because it is easier to be afraid – easier to be afraid and safe …”.

“Then” says John, “are you ready for this? There he is! Among them.  In front of them! He speaks, “Peace be with you.” 

Peace be with you! Yes, it’s a familiar greeting, just another Hello, another Hi. But it is loaded because it is a holy greeting.  

Peace be with you. Shalom! This is the greeting of God and of God’s angels. It says, “Don’t be afraid!”

Peace is God’s gift. God’s peace is Well-being. Justice! Mercy! Strength! It is the security of Community – Community of acceptance. Community of empowerment. Community of health of body, mind and spirit.

“Peace be with you. Here. Now. In this silly place of false security, this place of locked doors and security systems and security blankets, of cure-alls and rigid rules and infallible doctrines.”

“God’s Peace be with you, among you, between you, within you. God’s peace making the valley of dry bones come alive with singing and dancing and health and justice-making! God’s peace rolling away the stones of death.

“And,” said John, “then he showed them his hands, his side, his wounds.” What is happening now is not a magic erasing of evil’s power, of the reality of pain and suffering, of persecution and oppression. It is life despite all that. Despite the reality of pain and suffering, of oppression and evil. It is life in the midst of all that is threatening, all that is overwhelming, all that is pushing down and out, pushing away. And, it is life transforming and overcoming.

Again – again the greeting – “Peace be with you”. This the announcement that is more than an announcement – it is a blessing, a commissioning, an empowering, a sending forth.

“Peace be with you! As the Father/Mother God sent me – I now send you. You will do what I have done. Love one another.”

Breathe on me, Breath of God.

Suggested  Activities: 

There are different ways of using breath as prayer. Some use it breathing in the goodness of God and breathing out  the poisons we hold in our bodies, our minds, hearts, souls.  

We can also use both breathing in and breathing out as our prayer, receiving God’s goodness and grace but also breathing out blessing – on creation (and specific parts of creation, such as a tree). Consider how breathing on a baby’s bare skin can be a blessing, a bathing in loving breath. Breathing on each other can be a very intimate act between lovers – a pleasuring, a blessing.

Name places or situations in the world today, globally or even in your community or congregation – in your personal life – that might be considered valley of dry bones. Prayerfully imagine what might occur as dry bones might knit together and know the in-breathing of the life of God.   


Audio Sample for
”Just Breathe”

This audio sample includes all verses and refrains as notated in the Piano (hymn-style) Accompaniment version.

Scripture References

  • Genesis 1
  • Genesis 2
  • Isaiah 35
  • Isaiah 55
  • Isaiah 61
  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Micah 4:4
  • Micah 6:6-8
  • John 15
  • John 20:19-23

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Christ∶ among us
  • Comfort
  • Creation
  • Dance
  • Discipleship
  • Dry Bones
  • God∶ nature of
  • Grace
  • Heal, Healing
  • Life∶ rhythm of
  • Light
  • Nature
  • Peace
  • Prayer
  • Promise
  • Spirit
  • Vision
  • Wholeness
  • Wonder

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