I love to go hiking in the Nashville area’s many parks. Our city offers the blessing of many public parks both within the city limits and nearby. I experience a sense of peace and belonging as I walk along a trail and look at the sunlight slipping around the trees’ limbs and dappling the leaf-blanketed ground as far as I can see. I feel at home and at peace.
I think I feel such a sense of peace in the woods because I grew up in a rural area and spent many days walking through the woods exploring the area near our home. As I explored, I would let my imagination run free, seeing in my mind’s eye the original inhabitants and early settlers in the land where I lived. I became familiar with the trees and flowers that surrounded me. Occasionally I would happen upon an abandoned car or house. Preachers in the churches where I grew up did not talk much about God’s presence in creation. Rather, the Creator of all that is taught me about the many and varied ways that the creation speaks. I know that each leaf, each tree, and each stone reflects the greatness of God. I know that the imagination that allows me to enter in to that environment is a gift from God as well.
The sense of being centered and at peace and at home that I feel as I wander the woods today—well, we know where that comes from too. Psalm 104 reminds us that God not only made everything, but the presence of the Creator is woven through all creation. All we are and all we have are gifts from God and speak of God. Today when I hike I know whom to thank for everything that surrounds me.
God of all creation, help me listen for your good news in all the places and things of earth. Amen.
In preparing for Pentecost, we focus again on the work of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 recounts the famous story in which the disciples are miraculously able to speak in other languages in order to preach to the crowds in Jerusalem. The psalmist states that God creates and renews creation through the Spirit. According to Paul, if we are led by God’s Spirit, the Spirit confirms that we are children of God. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us how to love him and to keep his commandments. In some branches of Christianity, fear of excess causes hesitation about the Holy Spirit; however, we must never forget that the Spirit is central to God’s redeeming work.
Read Acts 2:1-21. The miracle of Pentecost is not only in the multitude of languages but also in the act of listening. How can you experience worship in many languages or offer deep listening this Pentecost?
Read Psalm 104:24-34, 35b. How do you witness God’s experience woven through all of creation?
Read Romans 8:14-17. The author reminds us that spirit also means breath. When have you felt led by the breath of God?
Read John 14:8-17, 25-27. How has fear kept you from trusting God?
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