This started when I was reading the book Shaped for Prayer Enjoyment, by Dave MacMillan.
He provides exercises in writing prayers of “admiration” to God based on different scriptural starting thoughts. One of the exercises was to write a prayer of admiration based on each of the phrases “cancelled,” “forgiven,” and “made alive” in Colossians 2, culminating with thanks for being raised and seated with Christ in Colossians 3:1. The prayer I started writing for “made alive” seemed to take on a life of its own and become an epic story from Genesis to Revelation (thank You, Holy Spirit!).
Giver of Life
You have done this before.
It started with the word, “green.” You said,
“Let the earth green up green!” And life exploded. The first living cell came into being
At the sound of Your voice. The plankton filled the water. The trees towered over the earth.
The grass coated the ground and the moss coated the trees.
It was day 3 of You playing around
And You invented physical life.
You were pretty pleased with Yourself,
As well You should be.
You kept playing. You added some pink flowers to some of the green plants,
And made half the trees turn yellow and orange and red in the fall,
Then knocked those leaves off and turned them all green again.
You liked Life. It said something about You,
The way all this exuberant self-replicating physical life
That cleansed the air and put new oxygen into the atmosphere
Expressed something about Your spiritual life.
To such a great extent, even, that You could use the same word
For all this mostly-green stuff and for You:
You kept playing, into day 4, 5, and 6. You made other life forms, that would breathe in the oxygen that the trees breathed out, that would breathe out the stuff that the trees breathed in. You set the whole world full of breathing breathers, breathing in and out in symphony and harmony. And all that breathing said something about You, too. Something about Your Spirit. So much so that You could use the same word for both of them, for Your Eternal Holy Spirit and for all that in-and-out of oxygen through leaves and gills and nostrils: breath.
Then You got really excited. You were going to make a Breather who didn’t just breathe in oxygen, but who breathed in God.
You formed the dust-man, pierced his nostrils open, got down real close, and breathed out.
His eyes fluttered open, this dual-being, running on both oxygen and God. His body and blood cells fed by the oxygen in the air from all those green things. His spirit replenished by inhaling his Maker. What a masterpiece! What a man!
You used the same word for him as for You:
You are the Living God
And the man became a living being.
By his very nature, he was dependent on You. Dependent on Your creation of oxygen, water, and food for his body to live. Dependent on Your Spirit-exhale for his spirit to live. The being who was born from Your breath could not live without You. But he bit down on disobedience and cut the oxygen tube between Your spirits. Death entered Your creation, chosen by him rather than created by You, just as You had promised.
You picked up death like a paintbrush and set about using it in the story: death to punish. Death to substitute. Death to redeem. Death to atone. Death to prepare for resurrection. You did not create Death the way You created Life, but You would use the paintbrush called Death to paint Your greatest Masterpiece of all, hung on two dead crosspieces of those living green trees You had made on Your third playful day.
And after Your masterpiece was Finished on that cross, You set about again to breathing. You found Yourself again in the same position as You had been on Day 6, when You lay Yourself down over the lifeless form of Adam and exhaled Your Spirit into his nostrils and his eyelids fluttered open. You were again gently leaning over the lifeless form of a Man. But this one was a corpse recently killed, not a brand-new sculpture waiting to be animated. The blood was all drained out, the limbs pierced, the flesh shredded. The heart had burst and broken, the lungs collapsed exhausted. Could Your breath do it again?
You inhaled a shuddering, grieving sob over Your mangled Son. Then You let it out.
His eyelids fluttered open.
How easy it was for You, who once made a man from nothing, to remake this one. You pumped new resurrection blood into the shredded veins, repairing all the damage as You went. You added some special features, like the ability to walk through walls and live forever. You kept some of the old ones, like the ability to eat and digest a fish breakfast. You eliminated all the damage sin had ever made. You designed and released the new prototype of the upgraded version of humanity, the beta test of Adam 2.
And off He went, exhaling Your Spirit as He went, breathing out life and healing and comfort to every devastated, traumatized friend He encountered. And when He gathered them all together, He did the same thing His Father had just done: He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
From the moment Adam swallowed sin-death to the moment this new Adam started exhaling God-life, nobody had ever been this alive before. They couldn’t express their new aliveness with all the words they knew, so it bubbled out in every language they had never learned. They couldn’t keep it in, so it flowed out of them, healing the sick and raising the dead. They weren’t yet as Alive as Jesus the Resurrection Prototype, because their old sin-contaminated-from-Adam bodies hadn’t yet died and been replaced by the new Resurrection Bodies designed to hold the Holy Spirit Breath, but they were more alive than dying human beings had ever been before. And just as all of Adam’s descendants inherited death in the moment that Adam bit down on disobedience, so all of the people who would be reborn through the New Adam inherited eternal life the moment He inhaled His Father’s resurrecting Breath.
Inhale. Exhale. Life. The God-Spirit oxygen tube has been restored.
The New Humanity Prototype went on to pioneer the next thing that the New Humanity would do. He went up to heaven and sat down. He kicked off His earth-dirty shoes at the front door of His Father’s dear old oh-so familiar house and yelled, “Daddy, I’m home!” as if nothing had happened. Because in the greatness of that glory, it did suddenly feel like thirty-three years of suffering and nine hours of excruciating suffering were nothing at all. A billion angel servants crowded the door at the sound of His voice, to cry and hug and kiss Him. He grinned at His Father over all their bobbing heads. When He finally made it up to the throne where His Father was sitting, He grinned bigger, and they exchanged a knowing glance that no words could ever express, because the Son Himself was the Word that expressed it all.
“I’m done,” He said simply. “It is finished. I have completed the work that You gave me to do on the earth.”
“Well done,” said His Father, and patted the space on the throne beside Him.
And the Son sat down.
The first thing He did was video-call His earth friends. John, locked up alone on an island for talking about Jesus with that reckless courage that came from seeing your Best Friend rise from the dead, heard the call coming in and answered the phone. Jesus tilted the screen around the heavenly throne room so that John could get a good look. John nearly passed out.
“See?” said Jesus excitedly. “I’m home now. I overcame everything and I have sat down with My Father on His throne. I’ve saved a seat for you. As soon as you and the others finish overcoming everything, you can come sit down beside Me here just like I sat down beside Him. Tell them that. And tell them to call Me back any time and get a good look around whenever earth gets annoying. It’s better up here, and you have a chair with your name on it, I promise.”
John promised to write it all down and share the invitation.
Set your minds, hearts, and eyes on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God the Father. Dial in any time. He’s waiting for you.