Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Sacramento, CA, USA
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. -Micah 4:2
“This is a pilgrimage for me,” Zac proclaimed as we pulled into Yosemite National Park for the first time. In honor of his family’s tradition, he rolled down the windows and invited us all to inhale deeply. The rich scent of pine enlivened our senses as we drove through the park. For a time, we were all silent. Anticipation and reverence consumed us. The orientation of my heart deepened toward awareness of the sacred.
We have spent many hours delighting in the writings of John Muir, a powerful environmental advocate who was instrumental in the creation of Yosemite as a national park. Suddenly, we were here in a place that was a home of his heart, a place that he was passionate about preserving for future generations. His words rang true as my anxieties and concerns shed along the magnificence of the path I was walking: “In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world-the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware” (John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938, p. 317).
We walked up a small trail to the base of a waterfall and stood in the place Muir once lived in the woods. That in-breaking Spirit, spanning all time, pressed in as I stood in gratitude and awe of the natural wonders that were thundering before me, towering over me, humbling me into freedom. I felt gratitude for the foresight of ancestors who knew the value of wild spaces to restore and reconnect us. Here, I remembered my need of these wild spaces, how my own creature-soul longs to belong in creation, how nature is not just a gift for the eyes, but a home for our breathing, pulsing, hungering bodies. The salvation of the Earth is the salvation of us all.
“In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being” (Job 12:10).
All That Lives
Sit quietly and sense God’s presence flowing through the trees and all creation. Offer a prayer of gratitude for your connection to all that lives. Ask for grace to discern and carry out one small act of justice or healing that creates greater wholeness for the plants, animals, trees, waters, air, and land that are part of the community of creation.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.