Friday, August 01, 2008

Listening as Prayer

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
A sermon excerpt from Michelle L, who served as a pastor at a youth camp this summer...

At camp we began the week by listening to nature, and listening for God in nature and in ourselves. And we talked about how the act of listening is a form of prayer.

I often feel closest to God as I am walking through the woods, listening to the birds, or watching the clouds float by on a crisp, blue day. The other day at the farm, I walked with our dog, Iglook, out to the pond very early one morning. I sat on the bench and listened.

I heard about eight different bird calls. I heard the twang of bullfrogs in the cattails, and the plop of little toads hopping into the pond as Iglook’s curious snout sniffed a little too close to them. In the distance I heard a rooster crowing, repeatedly, though the sun had been up quite a while.

I listened harder, and I heard the breeze rustling the leaves. I listened farther, and heard the white noise of the interstate. That was the farthest sound I could hear.

Then I heard the mystery sound of the morning. It was a knocking sound -- too uneven to be a woodpecker. Just coming two at a time, then four, then three knocks. I craned my neck, sure I could get a glimpse of who or what was swinging that small hammer. I couldn’t see a thing, but the knocking continued. I imagined a child building a fort in the woods, or a bear trying to knock a bee’s nest out of a tree with a creekstone.

Okay, we don’t have any bears, but my imagination got the best of me.

I finally walked back to the house, amazed that such a symphony plays constantly only a two-minute walk from my back door, and yet I am usually completely unaware of it. Listening as prayer. Listening as a way to become aware of all that is around and in us...

Go forth in peace, be led out in joy. Let the mountains and the hills before you break forth into singing. Let the trees and fields clap their hands. Join the celebration of life in the whole creation.



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