As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.
This is one of my favorite passages, for reasons too complicated to go into here. And a nice, simple Friday Five, which is good because I am a bit overwhelmed.
Yes, that is me. We like reenacting, so camping is a way to step outside our usual life and be someone else, in a sense. I always find a change of pace, scene, schedule, and so on, to be refreshing.
This is so rare these days, but I like reading by myself, in a solitary place. Or maybe I have quiet music on. Sometimes this means reading my Bible and taking time to savor and ponder. Some times it means reading something totally unrelated to my usual reading-to-learn. If it is a stream in the desert, it isn't going to be a deep volume by Bonhoeffer, etc. though those are important.
One of my favorite reading spots at home.
Up in beautiful Door County
Speaking of rivers in the desert, water is very refreshing for me. My favorite sound is a stream running over rocks. Not something I hear in my current part of the world, but a vivid audio memory from childhood trips into Sequoia or Yosemite National Parks or places like that. All kinds of water are soothing. A lake, pond, river, stream, ocean. My friend Much2Ponder showed me a nice spot about three miles from here where one can park the car by a grassy stretch of park along the river. Across the way is a tall steeple and, occasionally, bells. A great place for a short stop to pray and ponder or just be.
4. Prayer in our sanctuary at night
I love our little church at night. I can light some candles, and sit in silence looking at our lovely cross, or I can kneel or I can walk around and pray. The presence of God is often sweet there. Right now the cross' dark purple drape and the faux "crown of thorns" are back lit and stark. I don't have a camera right now, but I'll post a picture next week.
Another thing that has been relaxing since childhood...when things get to be too much for me, music helps. Depending on my mood it can be contemporary praise choruses, hymns, African harmonies, classical, a harp, the blues, folk, old rock, etc. I have a pretty eclectic music collection. The Our Daily Bread selection of c.d.s is so nice to listen to if I'm anxious or edgy. And they are often one of the lower-priced items at the Christian book store near me. They are "easy listening" but I mean that in a good way. They are beautifully done.