Breathe...


OK... Back to the "Book of the Dead" (a great pre-Christmas topic!), or as it should be known "The Book of Coming Forth by Day" because it was written to cover that period when a deceased person's spirit (or Ba) would be out and about during the hours of daylight, scouting for safe-passage through the Duat, or underworld, to the afterlife... The spells/prayers within the book offered various ways to avoid some of the various traps that an unsuspecting spirit could fall into en route like cheats in a computer game (more on that next time)...
But in many ways the process begins, not with death, but with the "opening of the mouth"... After the complex process of mummification, the priests then have to ceremonially open the mouth of the deceased, with an adze so that the ba spirit, in the form of a human-headed bird, can flit freely between the underworld and the mummified body... Because there was a belief that the spiritual life was only a half-life, and that the real life force, or ka, could only be expressed when body and spirit were united...
It is like Hebrew theology where the life force or nephesh is physically identified with the throat... and why Biblical theology majors on resurrection, which is both spiritual and physical, rather than the immortality of the soul. An immaterial existence is almost meaningless in Biblical terms... but so is one where there is no awareness of the spiritual dimension.
At the moment I am engaged in some "mindfulness" exercises, focusing on very basic things like, colour, texture, ambient sound, and my own breath. It is so easy to get caught up in doing (and that includes intellectual pursuits) that we forget that we are human beings. Many of us who are pastors have, I am sure said that (in one way or another) over the years, but we say one thing and do another... We get caught up in the rush, the need to do, especially at this time of year... and what we end up with is a half-life... Fit only for the tomb...
If we are to "go out by day" and find eternal life, then our mouths need to be opened to let the spirit return... We need to nourish both body and spirit...

"O Lord, open my lips..."

Psalms 51:15 (ANIV)

And breathe...


Selah

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