George Ross, in his writing, "Let Us Live Before We Die," wrote the following story concerning Michelangelo:
When Michelangelo was a little boy, one of his friends gave him a small Greek sculpture of a human form, half chiseled from the marble. For the rest of his life, Michelangelo kept that little statue by his bed. It was the last thing he saw before he went to sleep, the first thing he saw when he awoke. For him it became a symbol of man's anguished effort to be liberated from the prison of his own ignorance. Michelangelo devoted his whole life to freeing figures from stone. Sometimes it would take him months, even years. Always he began with a vision of the man or the woman locked up in the stone. He said, 'It is my job, my task, to set that man, that woman, free.' Such was the inspiration of the great man — and, indeed, such was the inspiration of the great movement, of which he was an exemplar — the Renaissance, as we call it today."
As we continue our sermon series on "Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water, we will look at the gift of life through the "breath of God." On this Pentecost Sunday and as we focus on "wind," we are reminded that the Genesis stories of creation and the third chapter of John point us to a creative, loving God who has "breathed" into humanity in a way as to free us to live life to the fullest as Michelangelo was always trying to free figures from stone." God breathed in life to creation. God breathed life into all the prophets and leaders of the faith. God breathed life into a baby born to redeem the world. God breathed life and Spirit into the followers of Jesus so they could live out God's vision for life. And yes, God breathes life and Spirit into us today.
The creative nature of God gave us fiat lux ("let there be light"). The incarnate nature of Christ gave us fiat vitae ("let there be life"). The pentecostal nature of the Holy Spirit gave us fiat ecclesia ("let there be church"). Fiat Lux becomes Fiat Vitae becomes Fiat Ecclesia.
This light, life, and community means that you and I are called to love creation as God does. As well, God's 'heavenly" presence is the air we breathe. (Grounded, Bass -120)
Our response? The purpose of existence is not simply to live, but to have life.