Last night I attended a concert of one of the choirs my daughter sings in. The concert also included our adult commuinty choir, The Minnetonka Symphony Chorus, one of whose songs was Look at the World, by John Rutter. It is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for all of thet “joys and wonders” of the world. The song invites us to
Look at the world, everything all around us…
Look at the earth bringing forth fruit and flower,
Look at the sky the sunshine and the rain.
Look at the hills, look at the trees and mountains,
Valley and flowing river, field and plain.
Think of the spring, think of the warmth of summer
Bringing the harvest before winter’s cold.
The lyrics praise God for all of creation, reminding us that “Every good gift, all that we need and cherish, Comes from the Lord in token of his love.”
One of the forms of prayer I love to engage in, especially at this time of year, is A Walk of Thanksgiving and Praise, to use the name given this exercise by a Cenacle sister. Sometimes it is referred to as a Creation Walk.
The instructions are simple. After taking a few moments to be aware of God’s presence within and all around, one is invited to go outside (preferably someplace where one can be alone and uninterrupted) and to take a deep breath. To be aware of the air that sustains life and of God breathing life into us in each moment.
The invitation is then to take a walk, consciously using all of one’s senses. To use one’s vision to revel in the color, shape and movement on all that we see…reflecting on all that our sight contributes to our life experience, enriching that experience. To use one’s hearing, stopping to really listen to all of the sounds…even to the seeming silence, again reflecting on how the sense of hearing contributes to our lives. To use the other sense – touch, taste and smell in the same way. And in all, to express thanks and praise to God for the gift of this sensate life.
Usually we walk around unaware of the gifts of nature God has bestowed on us. Or, if we are aware of them, we take them for granted, not really seeing them as gift. This experience is designed to counter both of those tendencies. To help us remember, in the words of the song, “Every good gift, all that we need and cherish, Comes from the Lord in token of his love.”