Monday, April 30, 2012

The Story Nature Tells

Jackson's Tree, photo by Joshua Thompson

 "We could do an immense service to our world if we would let nature heal, counsel, and teach again."

~Christensen and Laird (Henri Nouwen), "Spiritual Formation: following the Movements of the Spirit"

When we see nature as only something to be used, we miss the story it was created to tell. Even environmentalists can take nature for grantit when they hurry by a city park to get to their recycling rally. They may not notice the beauty and lessons of the old trees swaying above the playground equipment or the wildflowers trampled below the feet of dozens of children on a field day.

Spiritual Formation, based on Nouwen's teaching, goes on to say, "When we contemplate creation rather than manipulating it, we are able to see nature as a gift of God to be cherished and cared for." And I would add, " be learned from".

God created the plants for our nourishment and for our enjoyment (beauty). "Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food..." Genesis 2:9. We also learn that the leaves and other plants are for healing. We see the use of oil for healing in scripture again and again. By example, we learn from scripture that we can take life lessons and lessons about God from nature. 

God is referred to as our rock, our light and His voice is compared to thunder. Examples abound. But how did the psalmists and other writers come up with these comparisons?

They took time to meditate on aspects of nature.

I recently received a lesson from an old tree at a retreat center where our church leaders met for prayer. This is what I wrote:

Looking out the window at a very old tree, I notice deep grooves in the trunk, thick chunks of bark protruding and a deep hole in the bark at one place. It has been through so much history. I wonder about all the changes and things it has seen. I sense God say, "It's amazing what one can see or experience when he/she just stays in one place. Stay. Wait. Pray. Watch."

1 comment:

  1. What an inspiring post. I love the Banyan trees, I've taken photos of in India. But all trees inspire me. Nice post today. I'm subscribed to your site!