“Ruah, Breath of Life/Jesus, Bread of Life” Video

Ruah, Breath of Life, breathe in us.
Jesus, Bread of Life, give us strength.

Ruah, Breath of Life, breathe in us, we pray,
that we may spread goodness to all people on earth.
Spirit, wind of change, bring a peaceful day,
and we will join you, bringing life to birth.

Ruah, Breath of Life, breathe in us.
Jesus, Bread of Life, give us strength.

Jesus, Bread of Life, give us strength we pray,
that we may help others who are hungry and poor.
Fill us with your grace; show us all the way
to share your table and your open door.

Ruah, Breath of Life, Jesus, Bread of Life,
come strengthen and breathe in us, we pray.

Music: Larry E. Schultz   
Words: Jann Aldredge-Clanton  
Visual Art: Lucy A. Synk, “Ruah” © Lucy A. Synk. Used with permission.
photos from The Gathering: A Womanist Church, Dallas, TX
photos from Equity for Women in the Church Conferences
David Clanton, photos of children ” © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.
Recording and Production:
The Lodge, Indianapolis, IN
from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God (Choristers Guild, 2004).

In times like these, we long for renewed life. Children have been at the forefront of the call to end violence against people and all life on earth. “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

March for Our Lives, organized and led by Emma González and other teenagers, calls for gun violence prevention policies that save lives. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmental activist, has inspired a movement of young people to demand stronger action to stop global warming.

In the video at the beginning of this post, children sing a prayer for transformation to “Ruah, Breath of Life” and “Jesus, Bread of Life,” from Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God. Ruah and Jesus link creation and redemption, birthing and rebirthing life.

“Ruah,” by Lucy A. Synk

In the beginning Ruah gave birth to the universe. “The Spirit (Ruah) of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). In this verse the Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruah. The word Ruah also means “breath.” Ruah is the Breath of Life. The Hebrew word in Genesis 1:2 translated “moving” (rachaph) is used to describe Divine action only one other time, and that is in Deuteronomy 32:11, which images the Divine as a Mother Eagle. The first word for Spirit in the Bible is feminine. The first picture of the Divine is of a Mother Eagle giving birth to the universe. 

Minister Christian S. Watkins and Rev. Dr. Irie Lynne Session serving Communion at The Gathering: A Womanist Church

Jesus brings new birth (John 3:3-16). Jesus brings new life to everyone. “Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35). Jesus is the Bread of Life who “gives life to the world” (John 6:33). When we celebrate Communion, we remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life for everyone.

In the video, photos from The Gathering: A Womanist Church and from Equity for Women in the Church Conferences illustrate the new life that Ruah breathes into our world and that Jesus brings to the world.

The Gathering Co-Pastors and Staff: Rev. Winner Laws, Minister of Congregational Care and Spiritual Support; Rev. Kamilah Hall Sharp, Co-Pastor; Rev. Dr. Irie Lynne Session, Co-Pastor; Faith Manning, Minister of Music

The Gathering: A Womanist Church welcomes all people into community to follow Jesus in ministry with the marginalized and oppressed, to transform our lives together, and to create an equitable world.  This church creates worship experiences that address social justice issues through womanist preaching and action. The Gathering’s social justice priorities are racial equity, dismantling PMS (patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism), and LGBTQ equality.

Rev. Andrea Clark Chambers leading “Calling in the Key of She” program at Perkins School of Theology

Equity for Women in the Church is an ecumenical movement to facilitate equal representation of clergywomen as pastors of multicultural churches in order to transform church and society. Equity works to dismantle the interlocking injustices of sexism and racism that impede clergywomen. One of Equity’s current projects is “Calling in the Key of She,” an ecumenical program for clergy and religious leaders that seeks to address the gap of female leadership in churches by educating and empowering congregations to become more “female-friendly.”

For our work of transformation, The Gathering: A Womanist Church and Equity for Women in the Church draw power from Ruah, Breath of Life and Jesus, Bread of Life.

Let us all join together in prayer and activism. “Ruah, Breath of Life, breathe in us. Jesus, Bread of Life, give us strength.”


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