By Colleen Klatt
“He who hurries delays the things of God.”
Even though St Vincent de Paul wrote these words 400 years ago, they hold a principle for us to heed as we celebrate Creation weekend. I invite you to slow your steps and join me on a simple nature prayer walk today.
All that’s needed is a heart ready to watch and receive. No need to pack for a long-distance trip. Just slip on your shoes and head out the door, or simply sit by a window, if you must.
Outside bright rays of pure power from our faithful nearest star are falling all around you under blue skies. A breeze carries the last few fall leaves to the ground beneath our feet as the trees prepare for their seasonal slumber.
In this moment, outside here, allow yourself to slow down. There’s no need to rush, we’re living in the unforced rhythms of grace* now.
And since we’re not in a rush let’s rest at this bench. When we immerse ourselves in the natural world there’s a quiet peace that soaks into our souls.
Take a deep breath. In the stillness take your time with one or more of these questions:
1. What are you paying attention to right now
2. Does it cause you to ask a question? Remind you of something?
3. What is God saying to you?
Whatever is on your mind, pray that to God right now and let your spirit listen for His response.
We often rely on our sense of sight but for this moment can you give your attention to your sense of smell….hearing…touch…even taste?
Our senses feast on the sound of the tiny ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ on a nearby branch with its serious black cap, we smell the blue spruce as we brush our hands along its smooth needles, occasionally feeling the stick of the sap. Now take another deep breath. Try to answer another one of the questions above.
If this is hard don’t fret. Holy Spirit is your gentle guide. It takes time and patience to learn to listen and pray in the natural world. It feels passive, yet sometimes being passive is the most efficient posture we can take. God’s masterful playground, designed with you in mind, is waiting just outside your door.
*This phrase, the unforced rhythms of grace, comes from Matthew 11 in Eugene Peterson’s The Message.