After a few weeks of experiencing – and enjoying -- the legendary hospitality of Vancouver, I asked Matt, our line producer, why everyone in this city is so nice: Warmth and congeniality are so pervasive, there must be something in the air. He smiled (everyone smiles a lot) and said, “It is in the air. Because of the trees.” It is Matt’s wry contention that the lushness of the gorgeous landscape means there’s higher quality oxygen to breathe, and that makes everyone feel better.

Though the science might not track, what stayed with me was the notion that the atmosphere in which we live and breathe each day has a profound impact on our health – spiritual, as well as physical. If we surround ourselves with the toxic fumes of bad relationships, we cannot thrive. If we linger in the smoke from burning bridges, we will falter. If we are choked by fear and regret, we will not survive.

But when we are in clear air, where pain and doubt have been filtered out, we can breathe deeply. And the simple act of breathing deeply is healing and calming to the body and the soul. Our souls can breathe deeply and open up to the love of the Lord. We can center ourselves in His Word. We can release the toxins that have built up in our hearts, and be filled with the strength and certainty that come from living fully in His presence.

How’s the air quality in your spiritual life? Are you refreshed and renewed? Or do you need to seek out the cleansing breeze of the Holy Spirit?

The Lord has filled us with His breath and given us life. Jesus gave up His last breath to ensure that life would be eternal. Let us invite the Holy Spirit in with every breath, asking that we be filled with the purity and power of God’s love. May He empower and inspire us to go forth in joy and in service.

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.’ And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”

John 20:21-23