Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
Blog Number 29
September 16, 2019
Recently I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. For years my wife has told me that I stop breathing when I sleep but I knew that she was wrong. Finally, just to appease here, I agreed to see a doctor who prescribed a sleep study. The study confirmed what the my wife feared: I have sleep apnea. A number of times each night, my airway closes and I don’t take in the air that my body requires. It is hard to believe but the technician told me that my oxygen level during sleep declined to 50%. My nurse friends tell me that I should have died from a figure this low. Now I am using CPAP machine that gives me a constant flow of air into my body to keep my breathing passage open. My wife tells me that I am no longer snoring overnight.
Genesis tells us the story of creation. The first human created by God becomes alive when God bends down and breaths into the man’s nostrils. It is God’s wind (Spirit) that makes this non-living form into a living being. As a boy I loved visiting my Uncle Roy’s farm in Western, NJ. One of my highlights there was seeing the birth of a calf. The calf, however, was not breathing. My uncle stuck his thumb in one of the calf’s nostrils and blew into the other nostril. Instantly, by magic it seemed, the calf took a breath. Seeing this made the Genesis story come become more real to me. We don’t breathe without divine breath within us.
For some reason my body began to block my airway while sleeping and I was not getting enough breath in me. Now I have a machine pushing air into me so that I have a proper oxygen level. The doctor tells me that this therapy will increase my energy level as I will get deeper, more restful, more oxygen-rich sleep. I can’t help but wonder if many of us Christians in many churches have Spirit-Apnea. This condition comes if we restrict the Holy Spirit from coming into us. Maybe some of us need Spirit CPAP machines. What is such a machine?
Scripture reading, prayer, and worship come to mind. These let the Spirit flow into us fully. If we are faith fatigued we need to take these spiritual disciplines more seriously. Let us not have Spirit Apnea. Let us do all we can to make God’s Spirit flow.
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