Breathing Spaces

Breathing Spaces

February 17, 2014
Written by Steven Liechty

Martin B. Copenhaver

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.  As God has sent me, so I send you."  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." - John 20:21-22

In our already overcrowded lives, another space is being taken away.

When I was learning to type, I was taught that you should have two spaces after a period before starting a new sentence.  Now we are told, by no less an arbiter than The Chicago Manual of Style, that one space is the norm.  The primary reason they cite for preferring a single space is efficiency.  Of course, it all comes down to efficiency, as so much seems to these days. They conclude that typing two spaces "is inefficient, requiring an extra keystroke for every sentence."  An extra keystroke?  Well, that is simply too much to ask, don't you think?

But I think we need to be fighting for more space, not less.  Space gives us breathing room, which is another way of saying that space allows for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  J.R.R. Tolkien told the story of correcting student essays, when he came upon a blank page among the papers.  He stared at it for a moment and then wrote upon it, "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit."  It just came to him like a revelation.  And that's how he started his book, The Hobbit, the novel that leads into The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  But for that inspiration, he needed that blank page, just a little space between all of those words.  

Just a little space.  The Holy Spirit can work with that.


Offer a silent prayer today, just a little breathing room, a little space so that God can write upon your heart.

About the Author
Martin B. Copenhaver is Senior Pastor of Village Church, United Church of Christ, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. A new edition of his book, Living Faith While Holding Doubts has just been published by Pilgrim Press.

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