Activity Guidance – Date with Creation: Week 6
Nurturing a healthy relationship with Creation takes time and intention. This week, schedule a few “dates” with Creation, finding a favorite spot in nature to return to each day. Nurture your relationship with Creation by offering thanks, being present, listening, protecting, and praying in this spot.
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Br. David Vyrhof introduces the final week’s activity, a “Date with Creation,” which invites us to visit a beautiful spot in creation and to be fully present in our senses and our gratitude to God for the gift that this place represents.
Transcript: In this final week of our program, we’re asking you to consider the Fifth Mark of Love, which is “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain, and renew the life of the earth.”
This week we’ve offered you an activity called A Date with Creation. And we’re inviting you to go to a beautiful place in nature, perhaps a park, or the seashore, or a mountain, or even in your backyard. Some place that is peaceful, in which you’re surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. And in that place, we’re asking you to do this meditative exercise. There are five parts to this exercise and we’d like you to just set aside some time, maybe not just one visit but maybe a couple of visits to this place and exploring these different ways of praying in this space.
The first is just to listen, to become still, and to listen carefully to the noises that surround you and to the presence that you’re in. The second is to offer thanks. How would you express your gratitude for creation? What might you do or what might you say that would give expression to the gratitude you feel for being surrounded by the beauty of the natural world? The third is an exercise in being more present to the creation and it involves employing all of our senses. Not just our auditory sense or our sight, but touching, feeling, smelling — really engaging with the environment. Paying close attention to the things that are around us. You might study the bark on a tree or the petals of a flower. Look carefully at it and appreciate its beauty, touch it, smell it, experience it. The fourth step is to offer a prayer, to join your voice with the voice of all creation, that is constantly giving thanks and praise to God. Write out a short prayer in this section. And the fifth is to consider how you’re being invited to participate in safeguarding the integrity of creation, of protecting the environment and renewing the environment. What is God calling you to do that would help the earth?
– Br. David Vryhof
I agree with what the brother said in the video, ‘All ground is sacred ground because we reside in and are a part of God’s creation’ and that it is a statement to live by.
These words link to and support the commandment of honouring and worshiping God. Mostly because, when you take the time to observe God’s world and the life that exists there, including us, meaning people; it is easier to remember to be prayerful only to Christ.
Many of us living outside of say religious communities, so the majority of people today, including clergy, tend to forget the simple act of praying. More importantly, praying to the right God (Jesus) and really understanding what so many other religions stand for.
This is of a particular concern to me, because only Christ symbolizes and exemplifies what it means to stand up for so many people who have, through their own personal gain, ignorance, or desperation perhaps, lost their way, or have become far removed from a wholy or completely contented way of living with Christ, myself included.
Yes, I have had brief moments when I have truly felt a connectedness or contentedness in knowing Christ. These times, are fleeting and typically misguided. Not so unlike Adam and Eve or most characters in the Bible. Who because of their own desire for personal knowledge gain were given the right to experience all aspects of life, good and bad, just as they so desired.
Adam and Eve prayed to and took advise from an entity that was seemingly harmless – the snake, just as so many things in our world today appear harmless as well.
So it can be argued that life, actual life, like flowering plants or animals on this planet represent much more of God, like an extension of the Garden of Edan, or perhaps even a kind of protection, or a reaching out of the natural world, designed by God for humanity. As humanity struggles with the experience of tirelessly accessing all forms of knowledge from what seems like part of God’s creation, but really isn’t.
I cannot even imagine what God was envisioning at the time when the events in Edan occurred millennia ago. I do believe that God extended Edan or re-created it in some way. Again, I feel this was done in order to preserve humanity; and aid the majority of us, including myself, that are without a doubt, living a lifestyle that goes against God’s word; much more, and in much more dangerous ways than any of us ever like to imagine, or would like to admit.
So yes, I agree with the brother’s comment that all ground is sacred ground and I add that God put it there with a purpose.
So what I conclude from the brother’s lesson, is that recognizing the beauty of the natural world and seeing God in that, is a way to not just pray and reach out to Christ; but it is also one way God’s Spirit still reaches out to us and remains with us in a tangible way.
I live in a beautiful area of the country, the western North Carolina mountains. It is easy to spend time with nature, even just in our relatively level yard. I have certain routes I choose to drive simply because I like the views I see. It is an interesting balance we seek here. When you live in places that are lovely, sometimes you have to remind yourself to see it and not become inured to it.
The altar guild gave me the flowers from the altar last Sunday. I have SO enjoyed them this week. I love each one of the beautiful blossoms, and, even with them being a week old, they remain very pretty. I know this is not exactly what you have in mind as to a beautiful spot in creation. But, here in the winter, when it is cold outside, I prefer the indoors, and my flowers have reminded me all week of the beauty of God’s creation. Thanks!