About two weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that St. James has the most green space in the Presbytery of Carlisle. Then, on Wednesday of last week, I, along with everybody else who is involved in Youth Club, laid on St. James’ lawn with our eyes closed listening for the sounds of nature. This past weekend, a group of 26 Presbyterians floated down the Susquehanna River together on what proved to be a perfect Saturday morning.
While I am not 100% sure that St. James has the most green space in the presbytery, I like the sound of this statement. In a world with rapidly rising background noise, it is comforting to know that God has entrusted enough green space to us for us to be able to hear birds’ cawing and crickets’ chirping when we choose to listen.
Choosing to listen is not as popular as it used to be. Perhaps that’s because there are simply more voices in the mix and more ways of amplifying voices in a digital age. Still, when we choose to be still and listen for God’s voice, nature provides us with a safe space, a sanctuary, for hearing, for believing and for being strengthened in the faith.
I find that being in nature, as opposed to on the edge of nature, changes my perspective on the world that God created and re-creates by God’s grace in Jesus Christ. On Saturday, as I floated along the Susquehanna River, when I looked to my left, I saw downtown Harrisburg, including the Capitol building, in a completely different light; and when I looked to my right, I gained a different perspective on a road that I have already traveled a bunch of times.
The buildings on my left and the road on my right were made by human hands, hands that God knit together in mothers’ wombs. The river on which I floated is a gift from God from whom all life springs and from whom all blessings flow.
Together, we, as a church group, celebrate God’s good creation. Together, we laugh, and together, we listen.