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Clean Air, Windy Spirit

One of my favorite Hebrew words from the Old Testament is וְר֣וּחַ, or "ruach," which is the word that is used for Spirit or Holy Spirit. The most literal translation for this word is "breath" or "wind." As we know, this third member of our Trinitarian God is illusive and difficult to understand. The Holy Spirit is God's presence among us, gently blowing and guiding and moving with us day to day. It can be frustrating that the most tangible characteristic of the Spirit is the feeling of wind on our faces, and that's not much to go on. But what if we were to make a deeper connection between the air we breathe and the Holy Spirit's windy presence?

As I was reflecting on this month's Creation Care theme of "Healthy Air," I was struck by the disconnect between this integral person of the Trinity and the privilege of breathing air that is clean. To understand this constant presence of God as being like the air that fills our lungs, for many of us this can be comforting. Meditation takes on a whole new meaning when we breathe deeply, envisioning the Holy Spirit's divine breath filling our lungs and nourishing our souls.

But with that comfort comes privilege. Our community is lucky to be in a part of the world that air pollution is present but not over-powering. We can take deep breaths and trust that for the most part, it's healthy and clean. Even during allergy season, when sneezes and coughs are more frequent, the air we breathe isn't something we think too much about.

How would that shift for us as people of faith if pollution continues to get worse and we can't take deep breaths without causing damage to our lungs? How does the comfort of breathing in the breath of God change if God's windy breath is full of harmful particles?

As people of faith, it's imperative that our belief in God directly translates into our actions every day. This includes being stewards of creation with whatever means we have. One of the articles cited for you in the March section of the Creation Care page is It includes a realistic list of some of the most simple things that we do every day that contributes to air pollution, even down to leaving lights on in rooms that we are not using. I encourage you to take a look at this article, as well as the others listed. As it turns out, we can make a difference with how we live our own little lives in helping to quell the problem of air pollution by making simple changes and decisions in our homes, on our commutes, and through our priorities.

Making these changes stem from the call that we have as God's people to be good stewards of this earth that God created. We are blessed to live here and God has blessed us with the opportunities and ability to take care of and protect our home. And if you need a reminder, step outside and feel the Spirit's windy presence move across your face, take a deep breath, and say a prayer of thanksgiving as you ask God to inspire your faithful stewardship.

Breathing and stewarding with you,

Pastor Laura


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