And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Ge 1:31)
When was the last time that you really took a good look and thought about all that God has created? I love to take walks, especially through the woods, to clear my mind, get some peace and quiet, and get some exercise. Little did I know that what I love to do was mentioned in the book "Celebration of Discipline" as a means of the discipline of meditation. I'm so spiritual! :) Hmmm....I've been wise and didn't even know it. In his book "Celebration of Discipline", Richard Foster suggests the following type of contemplative prayer:
"...give your attention to the created order. Look at the trees, really look at them. Take a flower and allow its beauty and symmetry to sink deep into your mind and heart. Listen to the birds - they are the messengers of God. Watch the little creatures that creep upon the earth. These are humble acts to be sure, but sometimes God reaches us profoundly in these simple ways if we will quiet ourselves to listen."
I tried this a couple of weeks ago as I was out walking on a local park's walking trail. At first, I forgot about what I'd just read in the book but as I unconsciously started really paying attention to my surroundings, I remembered its words. I noticed the different kinds of grass, the wildflowers, saw an owl, pondered the different types of leaves on each tree and enjoyed the other various forms of wildlife. I noticed a turtle in the pond as well as a blue heron, and watched the little rabbits and squirrels make their way throught the woods. Thankfully, I didn't see any snakes! I started thinking as I walked about how truly unimaginative we are as humans in our creations. At our most creative moments, we are still in effect copying something that God has already done somewhere. Think of all of the textures in nature as well. I am totally in awe of God.
As I walked I realized that in all that I do, ministry or otherwise, I do not want to be a part of anything that God is not a part of. How could I alone possibly achieve His glory? With Him, however, any ordinary thing can become a magnificent expression of His greatness.
So, are you ready to take a walk? I highly recommend it. If not a walk, just go to a secluded place in the outdoors, sit and just soak up all that God has provided for you. Take a deep breath of the fresh air and feel the wind of God on your face. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
FINAL NOTE: Time with God in this fashion is best achieved in solitude as great conversation gets in the way of observation. :)