Quotes from 'Sacred Pathways' by Gary Thomas
“Where we worship can have a profound impact on the quality of our worship. The naturalist seeks to leave the formal architecture and the padded pews to enter an entirely new “cathedral”, a place that God himself has built: the out- of-doors.” (36)
“...the Bible is meant to be read outside...The phrase “river of life” seems quaint when the words are projected up on a wall; but its power is nearly overwhelming when you stand by a swiftly flowing river.”
“God is made known to us ‘by the creation, preservation, and government
of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein
all creatures great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God.” (40, from the Reformed tradition’s Belgic confession)
“...the mending and binding so necessary to heal our stress-filled lives may flow through creation. For the spiritually oppressed or the socially injured, a pleasing or quiet natural environment can help provide a spiritual release. Resting by a clear, free-running river or sitting on a sunny slope in blooming desert grassland can bring peace and joy into very clouded souls.” (42, from Susan Power Bratton)
“Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.
But only he who sees takes off his shoes and the rest sit around it and pick blackberries.” (44, from Elizabeth Barrett browning)
1. Take your Bible outside and read it; meditate while feasting your eyes and spirit on natural beauty
3. Work your way through one of Dr. Pamela Reeve’s books
4. Have a 'quiet time' outside at Dawn or Sunset.
5. Go for a walk
SCRIPTURES TO PONDER
Psalm. 29; 23; 84; Isaiah. 41:17-19; Mark 6:31-32; John. 4:35;
1. Where and when do you feel closest to God?
2. How is worship different for you when you are inside listening to speakers, etc. and outside enjoying nature.
3. What could you do (where could you go) that would help you worship more deeply on a regular basis?
4. How do you balance the need for natural beauty and quiet with the command to be in community? What kinds of community activities are satisfying to you spiritually and emotionally?