Today’s author is Prince of Peace member, Anne Christ.

Photo taken by Anne on her walk around Round Lake

I’m writing from the cabin my in-laws have owned in north-central Minnesota for the past 30 or so years. It’s a privilege to have a space to retreat to, and I’m always grateful to be here, even on a rainy, buggy day like today. One of my favorite times of day here is the early dawn, when the dog is eager to get me up and outside for a nice long walk. The sun is just coming up over the lake, whose surface is still and glassy. I can hear frogs croaking in the swamp, loons calling across the lake, and the occasional mosquito in my ear. The dog prances joyfully, eager to be bounding down the road off his leash.

When I was a kid, I was first introduced to the idea of Quiet Time at Bible camp. Even though it seemed to last forever, I usually didn’t mind the assignment of sitting, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees around me, and journaling a bit about whatever we had talked about in Bible study that day. Being in nature, the foundation of my faith being formed by the people around me and the majesty of the mountains, was a gift it took me years to fully value.

As I’ve grown older, and life has become busier, the noise of everyday life has crept in and I see how easy it is to be distracted by busy-ness. On my morning walk with the dog, I’m also listening to the news or a podcast, and reading messages from my colleagues in order to prepare for an action-packed day. I would imagine a packed agenda keeps many of you from fully engaging in your surroundings, too – from literally stopping to smell the roses.

On a recent Sunday at our kids’ church, the congregation considered the subject of sabbath, and Pastor Ian McConnell posited, “Who would I be if I knew how to rest?” and I’ve been rolling that question around in my head every day since.

I think that for me, the practice of being at rest is inextricably connected to the outdoors. Whether I’m active or still isn’t as important to me as the Paying Attention is.

Psalm 19 begins with the declaration, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”

In the early morning at the lake, when I’m walking the dog, I make a point of leaving the headphones behind. Though it seems quiet, God, through creation, is really *shouting* at me. Look! Smell! Taste! See my goodness! How grateful I am for the opportunity and privilege to be able to receive!

Gracious God, thank you for all you give us in creation – most of all for making yourself known to us in flowering plants, chirping birds, wind in trees, and rushing waters. Help us to pay attention and rest in the gift of your creation. Amen.