Saturday, June 21, 2014

Resource: A Sabbath Walk

It has been a while since putting up on my blog what I call a ‘resource’ – a spiritual exercise I have written, classic prayer, or allusion to an historic Christian practice -- something a person might use as a simple devotional exercise either regularly or from time to time. As a resource, I will not only share it here but will add it to the other items on my Resources tab across my masthead.

(Grand Teton National Park)
I got the idea for the Sabbath Walk several years ago from a my friend Debbie in my spiritual direction training cohort, have developed it further, and have used it numerous times for participants in retreat settings. In those venues, I have printed what follows on a single sheet and given it to retreatants for a morning prayer experience. Feel free at any time to print from my blogs anything you can use devotionally to share with others, but a quick reference to the blog site would be appreciated – I am always pleased to get these writings into the hands of others who find nature an important spiritual pathway. If you have any difficulty printing it from the blog’s format, send me a message with your email address, and I will forward you a nicely formatted, easily printable PDF.

Here is the resource. Enjoy!
~~ RGM, June 16, 2014

A Sabbath Walk

A Sabbath Walk is a simple opportunity for an unhurried walk outdoors, paying attention to what is around you, giving thanks to God for God’s blessings and wonders. It is a walk without particular purpose, or need for revelation or insight. It is simply a time to commune with God as did Adam and Eve in the Garden.

It actually becomes a saunter. One of the etymologies of the word saunter infers that it comes from the Latin sancta terra, or holy earth. In the Sabbath Walk one slows down, recognizes the presence of God, lets their soul catch up with them, sees what God has to give by acknowledging the beauty of creation.

Combined with a simple Lectio Divina, especially when using texts that highlight or reference the natural world, the walk can take on another character altogether. Consider, for example, the following text, and see what phrase jumps off the page for you. Mentally underline it.

Psalm 121, A Song of Ascents

(1) I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?

(2) My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

(3) He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

(4) Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

(5) The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade
on your right hand.

(6) The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

(7) The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.

(8) The LORD will guard your going out
And your coming in from
This time forth and forever.

Choose the phrase that speaks to you, then allow the scripture to go with you as you walk. Go slowly and silently without trying to get anywhere. Let your interests and your God guide you. You may be drawn to an object, a fragrance, a view. Stop and linger as you like. Whether the things you see are large or small, spectacular or commonplace, one marvels at the wonder of communing with the Creator of all of this! Reflect on your scripture and let it bring you back to the moment. Ask God what it is in that phrase that has drawn you. Commit it to God.  When you begin to sense your time of reflection coming to an end, read the whole passage again and close with a prayer, spoken aloud if you can.

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