[from Patrice Krause for Lent 2021]

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.  Anne Frank

Woodson Cove, Cross Timbers State Park, Kansas

Many people find that it’s easier to feel God’s presence when they are outdoors in a natural area.  How do you experience this? 

When you go to an outdoor, natural are, you may have a question or something heavy weighing on your mind.  Do you feel a sense of peace when you relax into the beauty of the area?  Or even note a new perspective on the issue that’s on your mind?

Or maybe you will just go to the natural area and be open to the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.  What will happen physically or spiritually is unknown at the beginning, but you can go with an intention to be receptive to whatever happens.

If you want a technique for connecting to nature, including your own inner nature, here is one practice: 

  • Let your awareness be drawn to something in the area that attracts you.  You might feel peace or joy at the presence of a plant, a bird, the sky, or something else. 
  • Write or think a sentence:  I like this ____________ because ________________.
  • Then take what you like about that element of nature and apply it to yourself. 

Example (focusing on a hosta plant starting to come up): 

Initial sentence: “I admire the hosta plant because it knows just when to emerge for a season of growth.”

Transformed sentence: “I see and admire in myself that I know just when to emerge for a season of growth.”

Consider these quotes:

Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
– Mother Teresa

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  – Psalm 23: 2-3

Opal Creek Wilderness, Oregon