God’s Sacred Creation
Elizabeth McDonald of Seaside, OR, USA
For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. -Isaiah 55:12
My husband and I were enjoying a camping vacation on the lower Rogue River in southwest Oregon. My sister and brother-in-law were camped nearby. One afternoon my sister took us for a drive into the Redwoods about 30 minutes away. Turning off the highway, we entered a park of trails among the giant trees.
I have traveled and walked among the Redwoods many times in the past. But now as a grown woman in her senior years, I was awed to the center of my soul. I felt the urge to kneel, to put my arms around the trees and embrace the sacredness I felt among them. To me they were vibrantly alive and spirit-filled. I walked quietly, feeling I was on holy ground.
I wanted to capture their beauty in photographs but was afraid that with my inexpensive camera there would not be enough light under the forest canopy. However, each time I focused the camera on the scene before me, light radiated and filled the picture. The light seemed to be above, around, and inside those glorious trees.
My sister and I shared one awe-filled moment after another. Finally our husbands called us to return to the car. It was getting late. As I got back into the car, I suddenly felt totally rested. My soul had been refreshed in God’s sacred grove.
“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)
The Prayer of the Heart
Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.
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.