We have been exploring the Divine in Nature together for the last three months. In that time, we’ve talked about the way that God shows up in Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind. We’ve talked about Good Soil, and the ways in which to plant ourselves. We’ve talked about the way that water surrounds and cocoons us, a womb of water, and also challenges us in storms. We’ve explored God’s light leading the way and our own fire inside. We’ve followed our breath as we experienced God through the wind. We talked about Panentheism, the idea from Sally McFague that God is IN everything. AND we had a summer of experience – gardening, hiking, swimming, sitting in hammocks under trees…
I think it’s important on this last Sunday together to sit for a minute and reflect on what these three months have brought to you and our understanding of God.
So in today’s sermon time, we’ll be spending some time reflecting on our experience of the Divine in Nature, and our journey these past three months.
I’ll offer some questions for contemplation. We’ll take a few minutes to think through these three questions individually, then have the opportunity to share our reflections, either out loud or in the chat. I will write the question in the chat as I speak it so you can refer to it.
I’ve found myself thinking a lot about God in the wind and especially the Sky this week. This is new for me. As a reactive push back against thinking about God as only ‘up there’, I’ve tended to lean heavily into thinking about God ‘down here’. In the dirt and the worms and the streams and the fire. I’ve leaned into the idea of God’s immanence, God’s very dwelling presence with us in our lives, and the sky felt very far from all of that. But the Wind is one of the four elements, and the Sky is intimately connected to the wind.
For a time I worked with Yoga Behind Bars, an organization that brings trauma-informed movement practices to incarcerated people around Washington State. The folks we worked with didn’t have much access to the natural world. But they did have access to sky. In the yard, they could look up, feel the wind on their skin, and be reminded that they were connected to something greater.
That connection is also available to us, at virtually any time.
As I sit here typing this, I’m in an indoor space, where most of us spend the majority of our time. But I can see the wind blowing the tree outside my window, first one direction then the next. The movement brings me into this present moment, causes me to step outside my brain and reconnect to the natural world.
And when I crane to look out a window, I see the sky. Always there, always present. Ever constant and yet ever changing. Reminding us of God’s perpetual presence, available to us whenever we think of it, and even when we don’t.
We can also put our hands in dirt. Light a candle. Stare at the leaves blowing in the trees. Soak in a hot bath. Wash our hands, and take a moment to be present to the water running our hands. Take in a sunset. Gaze at the stars. God is present to us in all of these places.
May we remember, through the abundant gifts of our natural world, of our interaction with the four elements of earth, fire, water, and wind, that God is always with us. When we struggle with remembering this, all we need to do is look up to remember. Amen.