Worship in the Woods

Monthly on the 4th Sunday 3:00 PM to Sunday, December 25, 2022 4:30 PM

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Worship in the Woods

Join us as we connect all people, God and creation through nature contemplation on the fourth Sunday of each month, year round.

Celebrate the Divine presence in all things as we seek to live in harmony with everyone and everything.  Transform yourself and renew the Earth as we worship together on the beautiful shore of Lake Cochichewick.

Rooted in the Christian tradition, Worship in the Woods is open to people of all faiths and in all stages of the spiritual path.  If nature is your "church", this is the place for you.  For more on nature contemplation, check out Lawrence's blog here

Registration is free, and encouraged.  Please note that there will be no access to the Rolling Ridge mansion.  Please consider a financial love gift to support our ongoing ministry of eco-spirituality, connecting all people, God, and creation.

Join us on Sunday, September 25th for a special Worship in the Woods as we celebrate the Season of Creation!  

Since 2001, the Season of Creation has invited God's people around the globe to pray and care for creation and to protect our common home. This emerging liturgical season runs annually from September 1 through October 4. While the Ridge did not offer weekly Sunday Vespers this year, we will have a special celebration on September 25th at 3:00 pm at our Point of Pines Outdoor Chapel.  Scroll below for more information.

 Check this web page the day before for weather preparation updates.
FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th  = Weather forecast is 69 degrees and overcast, with a chance of rain after 4 pm.  Come prepared with rain gear as we expect the unexpected and enjoy the beauty and mystery of creation.  We will meet at the Rolling Ridge parking lot at 3:05 pm and walk together as a group to Point of Pines.  The grounds will be open all day if you'd like to enjoy the budding beauty of summer at the Ridge.

ABOUT THE SEASON OF CREATION 2022:  Listen to the Voice of Creation
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have become familiar with the concept of being  muted during virtual conversations. Often, people using a platform do not have the capacity to unmute themselves. Even more do not even have access to digital platforms, and so their voices are never heard. Many voices are muted in public discourse around climate change and the ethics of Earth-keeping. These are the voices of those who suffer the impacts of climate change. These are the voices of those who hold generational wisdom about how to live gratefully within the limits of the land. These are the voices of a diminishing diversity of more-than-human species. It is the voice of the Earth. The 2022 Season of Creation theme raises  awareness of our need to listen to the voice of all creation.

The Psalmist (19: 1-4) acknowledges that hearing the voice of creation requires a kind of listening that is increasingly rare. Within the ecumenical Christian family, there is a diverse range of traditions to help us recover our capacity to hear the voice of creation. Some of the earliest Christian writings refer to the concept of creation as a book from which knowledge of God can be read. The theological tradition of the book of creation runs like a golden thread from the writings of Origen through the Patristic writers such as Tertullian, Basil of Caesarea and others. Like the Psalmist, St. Maximus reminds us that the entire cosmos praises and glorifies God ‘with silent voices’, and that praise is not heard until we give it a voice, until we 
praise God in and with creation. St. Augustine writes, “[Creation] is the divine page that you must listen to; it is the book of the universe that you must observe. The pages of Scripture can only be read by those who know how to read and write, while everyone, even the illiterate, can read the book of the universe.” Martin Luther wrote, “God has written [the gospel] not only in books, but also in trees and other creatures.” A “book” or a scroll was meant to be read aloud, and therefore, it was a spoken word that was meant to be heard. The scrolls, and books of Scripture were meant to be read aloud, breathed into a community, and heard as proclamation. The Psalmist who declares that creation proclaims God’s handiwork also knows that the book of Scripture perfectly revives the soul, makes the simple wise, rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. (Psalm 19:7-8) The book of 
creation and the book of Scripture are meant to be “read” side by side.

Care must be taken not to confuse the two books, nor to blur the lines between reason and revelation. But what we “hear” from creation is more than a metaphor drawn from our understanding of ecology and climate science. It is more than the biological and physical sciences that have shaped the dialogue between theology and the natural sciences since the scientific revolution. In his encyclical on Faith and Reason, Pope John Paul II recognized that while Christ is the heart of God’s revelation, creation was the first stage of that revelation. The harmonies that emerge when we contemplate the books of creation and Scripture form our cosmology about who we are, where we are, and how we are called to live in right 
relationships with God and our co-creatures. 

Contemplation opens us to many modes of listening to the book of creation. Psalm 19 says that creatures speak to us of the Creator. The harmonious balance of biodiverse ecologies and the suffering cries of creation are both echoes of the Divine because all creatures have the same origin and ending in God. Listening to the voices of our co-creatures is like perceiving truth, goodness or beauty through the lives of a human friend and family member. Learning to listen to these voices helps us become aware of the Trinity, in which creation lives, moves and has its being. Jürgen Moltmann calls for “a discernment of the God who is present in creation, who through his Holy Spirit can bring men and women to reconciliation and peace with 

The Christian Tradition helps us learn to listen to the book of creation. Christian spirituality is replete with practices that move our bodies to contemplation in words and silence. Liturgical and spiritual practices are accessible from early childhood to adulthood. Cultivating a spirituality of active listening helps us to discern the voices of God and our neighbours amongst the noise of destructive narratives. Contemplation moves us from despair to hope, from anxiety to action!

For Christians, Jesus Christ holds the two “books” of creation and Scripture together. Faced with the reality of brokenness, suffering and death, Christ’s incarnation and resurrection becomes the hope for reconciling and healing the Earth. The book of Scripture proclaims God’s Word so that we can go into the world and read the book of creation in a way that anticipates this Gospel. In turn, the book of creation helps us to hear the book of Scripture from the perspective of all creation that waits with eager longing for the good news. Christ becomes a key to discern God’s gift and promise for all creation, and particularly those who suffer or are already lost to us.

During the Season of Creation, our common prayer and action can help us listen for the voices of those who are silenced. In prayer we lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those whose livelihoods are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. In prayer we centre the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. Communities of worship can amplify the voices of young people, Indigenous people, women and affected communities who are not heard in society. Through liturgies, public prayers, symbolic acts and advocacy, we can remember those who are displaced or have disappeared from public spaces and political processes.

Listening to the voice of creation offers members of the Christian family a rich entry point for interfaith and interdisciplinary dialogue and practice. Christians walk a shared path as those who hold different kinds of knowledge and wisdom in all cultures and sectors of life. By listening to the voice of all creation, humans joined in our vocation to care for our common home (oikos).

We hope that you will join us for our Season of Creation celebration on Sunday, September 25th at the Ridge.
For more on the Season of Creation, please check out their website.

About the leader(s)

Lawrence Jay

As the Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, Rev. Dr. Lawrence Jay works in partnership with the staff to ensure that the guest experience at the Ridge is top quality.  He also partners with retreat leaders to provide excellent programming at the Ridge, and is available to speak about the ongoing ministry and historic mission of Rolling Ridge as a place of rest, retreat, and transformation.  A trained spiritual director and ordained American Baptist pastor, Larry (as he is known by friends) is a graduate of UCLA, Golden Gate Seminary, Franciscan School of Theology, American Baptist Seminary of the West, and the Gateways to God Missional Spiritual Direction Program.  He is also Adjunct Faculty at Merrimack College in the Masters of Spirituality/Spiritual Direction program.  Eco-spirituality is his passion (and was his doctoral dissertation), encouraging everyone to live into the fullness of our connection with nature, God, and all people.  

Marie Rudzinsky

Marie has been studying, practicing and living mindfully for over 10 years.  She has helped many people with MS, and runs mindfulness programs at Lake Quanapowitt in Wakefield, MA and surrounding areas.  As a retreat facilitator, Marie  will guide the group providing wisdom, experience and compassionate support.
She is also qualified to teach the MBSR (Mind, Body Stress Reduction) program and trained with the UMass Center for Mindfulness Medical School.