to breathe in the woods

14 05 2013

One of my monthly disciplines is a quiet day. This is a day I try to do life differently. And as the name suggests, it’s meant to be quiet. Life in ministry is rarely quiet, so hearing myself think, let alone God speak, can be tricky. Sometimes on my quiet days I walk the parish, or go to London. You can find God in the urban. It’s from this that the Lent Sessions (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) came, from images of our parish estate.

Often I go to the countryside. I’ve always loved the rural outdoors. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes on my own. Often I see things that spark my thoughts. Today I was thinking and trying to pray about life, how it is so full, of good things and hard things, important things and things I wish weren’t important, like rotas and not being the Messiah myself.

It can be hard to see the wood for the trees, as Jesus would have said if he’d lived in England and been less obsessed with corn. 

wood for the trees 1

A quiet day can be like walking in the woods and approaching a clearing. Everything can feel a bit enclosed, dark. But ahead are glimpses of daylight. 

wood for the trees 2

As you walk towards it, you can see the scenery begins to change. The trees becomes thinner. There is an end to the mud.

wood for the trees 3

For me, I am drawn to clearings. Openings. Places where daylight penetrates. This of course is more than a clearing. It’s a beautiful valley. 

Seek out the places that give you life. If that is walking the pavements, do it. If it is escaping to the country, do it. It gives you the chance to see a different perspective, a different view. Then when you look back to where you’ve come from, and to where you will return, it somehow can seem more manageable. Even beautiful. 

wood for the trees 4

Because you must come back. And you cannot live longing to be in the clearing. It can give you new life to go there, but you must be able to breathe in the woods.

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (Romans 15.13, The Message)




One response

15 05 2013

There is so much refreshing, renewing power in God’s creation. There is peace in the roaring wind and crashing sea. There is strength in the music of the singing birds, there is rest in running through beautiful woods. There is comfort in walking in the rain. These are some of the real values of the world. How different from what we hear on the news when all is about money and power, and its misuse. Keep up the quiet days Kevin, and be refreshed and renewed by God and his diversity; so that you can work in the specifics in a new and dynamic way.

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