~By Tara Wiley
Scripture: Job 12:7-10
7 “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
8 “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9 “Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this?
Ordinary Time can be so very extraordinary. Summer arrives, and schedules soften like butter melting over sweet corn. Mornings are quieter (no rush to school!), bedtimes are pressed later as firefly chasing and toad hunting stretches into the long twilight.
There is a gift, a glory to be found in the space left for quiet inactivity.
…Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Earth’s Crammed with Heaven”
How do we train ourselves in this busy, entertainment-focused culture, to stop long enough to see? To truly see God in the ordinary – this is the gift of Ordinary Time, but it is a learned gift, a disciplined gift.
Young children’s concept of meditation is necessarily different than ours. We have the opportunity to cultivate in them eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts attuned to discover the glory of a moment or two stolen simply to pause and recognize God’s handiwork, whether in a breathtaking vista
or in the smallest wildflower.
Summertime gentles our hearts to experience the holiness of God in nature. Let’s take advantage of this season to become the ones who see and take off our shoes.
Take a nature walk with your children in the evening, when animals are more active and the littles are (hopefully) willing to slow themselves after a busy day of play.
Pause to investigate a wildflower or cloverleaf. Take a picture or pick one, if possible, to sketch. Bring along a bug box and find beetles, caterpillars, or small frogs to study for a little while once you return.
While observing, read the above passage from Job. Ask what attributes of God are present in this small piece of nature. Sing a hymn that comes to mind (such as All Creatures of Our God and King). Brainstorm vivid adjectives or play with personification to fully engage with God’s artistry. Perhaps, simply be still and look. Younger children can do this for a minute or two (perhaps just 30 seconds to begin with, but they will learn to linger longer). End your time with a prayer of thanksgiving for the glory of God’s creation, His gift to us.