Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nature's Perfect Worship Service

Last memories at a favorite camping spot.
Last Labor Day weekend was glorious weather for camping. Ted and I usually invited others along, but somehow this outing was a gift just for us. God blessed us with so many simple pleasures that weekend and I'm so happy I captured them in my journal...

We heard the hoot-hoot-hoot of an owl as we stretched out on our sleeping bag late that first night. A full moon greeted us through the canopy of our tent.

In the wee early morning, we heard the mystical croon of the loon -- for hours and hours. One of the absolute best perks of camping was hearing this beautiful sound of the north as we drifted in and out of dreamland.

As the morning sun ushered in the day, we made coffee on our camp stove and brought it out in the canoe.

On the placid river, we watched a great blue heron fish for her breakfast and then shake her head to help swallow down her big catch. A small bird perched in the bushes thrust its head back and let out a long melodious warble. A mud hen floated in the bog, then went under cover as we glided near. A loon and her baby swam together, separately disappearing under the water and popping up in new spots, the baby peeping for his mother.

We talked of how it was nature's perfect "worship service." Tranquility. Peace. Harmony. The heron was a sterling example of patience and perseverance. The songbird exuded joy. The loon added its melodic voice to the worship. Ted and I thanked God that we were able to be there at all. What a great picture it was of how well God provides for all His creation.

We cooked a savory brunch of bacon, potatoes and veggies in foil as Ted poked and tended the fire. Later, he grinned like a kid as he played with a pine bough in the fire, watching it crackle. Our little dog Nikki chased the chipmunks that teased her.

As we nestled around a dancing bonfire that evening, our conversation turned to the birth of Jesus and what we learned from each of the gospels about it. We observed how Herod was evil, like Hitler was evil (Germany 1938), like Assad was evil (Syria 2012)... and there is always evil. But God is good. He is in control. He is our hope, our refuge, our strength and our guide through anything we meet in this world.

Why does evil exist? Who are "the least of these" around us? How do we know if we're in the center of God's will? These are some of the great topics we dove into. Ted said as long as we are seeking, listening and obeying, we are on the right track. It's up to God to reveal, and it's up to us to listen and act.

As we often did, we alternated in a free-flowing, conversational prayer as we gazed upon the captivating fire. We lifted family members, friends and situations around the world, placing them in God's capable hands, one by one. We expressed our gratefulness for the simplicity of our surroundings, the beauty of all creation giving Him glory. How we loved our lives together, with God in His place of priority.

Oh dear God, little did I know that would be our last camping trip. But what a beautiful weekend it was in so many ways. You gave us the best! You gave me the best when you gave him to me. My heart is forever grateful for Your goodness.

(Click the colored links in the story to see related stories.)


  1. This is beautiful Marilyn.

  2. Marilyn, you are such an eloquent writer. I can picture myself there smelling the fragrant forest and hearing the water trickling past the river rocks. We treasured the times we had with you and Ted camping, canoeing and during nature walks. Gods lovingkindness is in every orange sunset and blooming flower, displaying his great glory and abundant love for us. Praying that you feel His loving embrace more every day.
    Love, Laurie

  3. Marilyn,
    What a beautiful scene for the pages of our minds to focus on.
    I love that you are so aware to notice each lovely piece of God's creation, and His constant presence.

    By your example, you are teaching us gratitude.
    It's so easy for us in our "entitlement society" to become ungrateful and unaware of ALL that God IS providing for us.
    Thank you for helping me to more fully appreciate the 'symphony' of provisions that Jesus gives us.

    "Come to me and I will give you rest" ... He must have known that we would need that ... morely, that we would need Him.
    love ya, vic