To become more aware of their surroundings, naturalists learn to be still and to engage their five senses. Find a spot outside and sit quietly for a few moments. Be present in the moment by calming your mind and stilling your spirit. Slowly open your “owl eyes” and expand your peripheral vision to see all that is around you. Next, begin to tune in to the sounds around you with your “deer ears”. As you take deep breaths, allow your “bear nose” to smell the air and sniff the multitude of scents surrounding you. Engage your “raccoon hands” as you tactilely explore your environment; and if you are daring (and know something about the local plants), extend your “reptile tongue” and taste creation's bounty. Open your whole self to the Creator through creation's loving gaze and embrace. After a few moments focus your attention and connect with one creature. Be with it; connect with God through it; do not rush.
Given your “creation connection”, what thoughts are triggered as you consider what you know from scripture and science? Think about what this teaches about your relationship with God and all the Creator has made. How do the environmental realities we face today challenge this relationship? Also consider: What do you like best about being in nature? What is “good” and
“beautiful” to your senses? How is God revealed through nature?
Given your “considerations”, what feelings are stirring in your heart? Bring this to prayer as you look on creation with love through the Spirit and allow your contemplations on nature to draw you closer to God. Also contemplate: How do you feel about creation? What are you experiencing as “true”? What passions are unfolding in your heart regarding your relationship to the planet because of your relationship to God and commitment to Christ?
Given your time seeking the Creator in creation, what can you do to live out your growing convictions? How can you imitate the Creator's love and care for creation as a “brother”, a “sister”, a “neighbor”, given the current environmental realities we face as a global community? To CARE, choose: (1) a Change to make in your lifestyle, (2) a form of Art to express your growing passions and commitments, (3) a Relationship to address or to learn more about through study, (4) an Example to follow from nature or from someone whose creation care you admire. Your commitment to creation care is your “eco-vocation”, your ecological spirituality.
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As the Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, Lawrence 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 ...