So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." ... God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.
by Jennifer Creagar, Community Assistance Coordination Director
This week Spring seems to finally be here, and creation is full of new things-–budding trees and flowers, birds singing, and weather that encourages us to get outside. I invite you to try a prayer practice I like to call Take a Walk Like a Preschooler. I learned this practice of appreciation for God’s beautiful creation from my granddaughter Anna, and have had further instruction from the rest of my grandchildren and other preschoolers I have been blessed to know. When Anna was about 3 or 4 years old, we went on a walk, and before we had even left the sidewalk in front of the house, Anna was making discoveries. About every five steps or so, she would say, “Look!” as she pointed into the grass, or at a tree, or a cloud in the sky. Then she would run to a spot that looked exactly like every other spot in the grass, or a tree that looked like every other tree, and find a treasure. Once she ran out into a grassy spot, squatted down in that amazing way only preschoolers can, put her hand down and came up with a bug. I’m not sure what kind of bug it was, and, honestly, this insect-phobic grandmother was using every bit of calmness she could muster in order not to run and hide. But Anna was calmly fascinated as the small creature ran around the palm of her hand, and pointed out the fact that it had wiggly legs, and which end was its head and which was its tail. When she was done checking it out, she said, “OK, beautiful bug. Thank you,” and gently put it back into the grass. That was only the beginning. In the course of a very short walk around our yard and the yard next door, she found treasures that included a number of small rocks, leaves, seed pods, and a few objects I could not identify. She declared them all to be beautiful and worth taking back inside to share with the rest of the family.
The thing we can learn about Creation from preschoolers is, first, to really look, and, second, to approach our time with God in nature with great expectations. Anna was (and is) always looking for something special. She kept her eyes open and she always found it. She saw grass moving and found a bug. She watched the wind blow a seed pod and followed it until she could examine its size and shape and point out that it was actually three colors and very bumpy. She had no pre-conceived ideas about what she would find, and she found something new every time.
So take a prayer walk with no plan but to really see the amazing creation around you. Thank God for the beauty you see. Ask God to show you something new. Find something you really love and treasure, and talk to God about how you can help care for this and the other treasures of air and light and water and living things. (If you need some help and guidance in this practice, find a preschooler to pray with you!)
Lord God, who made the earth and all that is in it, help us to really see the natural things around us, and show us how to care for them as the gifts you have so generously created for our blessing. Amen.
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