God’s creation is the most sacred of the “sacred arts” and provides us with countless opportunities for spiritual practices. Today, take a walk and leave behind at every stop along the way, a sin that you want to confess or forgive. You can walk anywhere: your backyard, your neighborhood, a wooded area, the church grounds. Or, if you prefer, take a “picture walk” using the photographs provided.
During your walk you will be picking up various items that will represent sins you want to ask God to forgive or grievances you might have against someone whom you need to forgive. Choose when and where you wish to stop, read and pray.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt. 6:12)
Pray asking God to lead you in prayer. Begin your walk.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:15-17)
Notice God’s creation surrounding you. Consider what Jesus might be revealing to you today in what you hear, see, smell, or touch. Take a leaf letting it represent something you want God to forgive you for or a grievance you might want to forgive someone for. Crumple the leaf, drop it, and give it to God.
Pray. Move on.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Ps. 55:22)
Pick up a stone and hold it tightly. Think about what is burdening you today. What sins or grievances do you want to give up? Throw the stone as far as you can knowing that Jesus has done the work; that your burdens have been made light.
Pray. Move on.
Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! (Prov. 30:4)
Look up to the sky above you. Notice how tall the trees are and how they sway in the breeze. What do they tell you about the majesty of God? Consider the roots that you cannot see. Pick up a stick as you think about the sin or grievance you hold inside. Break it and throw it on the ground knowing that Jesus will help you stand firm.
Pray. Move on.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples! I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40)
Consider what Jesus may have meant by this response. How does creation praise God? How does or doesn’t humankind praise God in creation? How have you fared in taking care of God’s creation? Pick up a small handful of stones and think about the sins/grievances you need to drop. Gently drop the stones knowing that Jesus was born and died to take away the sins of the world.
Pray. Move on.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Look at the magnificent trees around you – created and sustained by God, and beautifully displaying God’s splendor. Consider what these verses say is required of us in order to become an “oak of righteousness”. Paul tells us that God is always revealing himself in creation – which we all witness daily wherever we are. Lay your hand on the trunk of a tree. As you pull it away, leave your sins and grievances behind.
Pray. Continue your walk with hope in your heart.
Photos by Michelle Snead
Ideas revised and edited with permission from The Sanctuary Centre © 2013www.thesanctuarycentre.org/whereworldandworshipmeet