If you were able to tune into worship yesterday you were able to hear me give a message about the Boundary Waters Trip from the week of July 27th. I wanted to go a little deeper here about what we talked about during the week and the way we were able to feel, hear, taste, smell and see God.
The theme for the week was "Sensing God" I came up with that idea pretty early on and figured I could probably put together a five day bible study on it. I came up with the idea of it while doing some reading of Sigurd F. Olson. I've enjoyed his readings as they're light and easy to read. In one of his books he talks about his "Listening Point" He describes it as a place that doesn't have to be up north or somewhere in the wilderness. It simply has to be someplace quiet where the universe can be contemplated with awe. What's that place look like for you? For me I do find it out in nature. It's pretty amazing to me to be in the Boundary Waters as the sun is rising leaving a warm glow across the water as pictured above. For some it could be a quiet corner of their house or maybe even a stretch of road between your home and office.
On Monday we talked how we can touch or feel God. We talked about how the next day we'd be paddling into the boundary waters. The weather forecast was looking good and I told them to close their eyes and just look up towards the sun. To feel the warmth of the sun on their face. To me that's feeling the touch of God. The sun the wind anything from nature that you can feel is from God. Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at you right hand are pleasures forevermore" God's presence is with us and we can feel it. With God's presence it can fill us with joy.
Tuesday we talked about hearing God. I think it's very uncommon to hear the voice of God but when you listen you can sense the still. In Revelations it says, "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you." In the BWCA it's easy to just sit in silence. You'll still hear noise. The sounds of the wind going through the trees. The water as it gets blown against the shore. The sound of loons across the open waters and other wild life scurrying through the woods. To be quiet with one thoughts... to contemplate with awe. Listen for what God is trying to say to you and you may just hear it.
Wednesday. Try it.... you'll like it. I've said those exact words to my kids. Sometimes they look at what is put in front of them for supper and wonder what we're trying to feed them. Sometimes they just have to trust that it is good. They weren't sure once what to order at a restaurant so I just did for them. They tried it they liked it. Isn't that the way it is with God sometimes. You doubt you don't fully trust. You just have to try it. Try what you are meant to do and it'll be good. Try the peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla and maybe it'll just be the most tasty thing you eat all week.
Thursday we smelled God. In Genesis it talks about how Noah offered a burnt offering up to God after the flood and God found it good and made a promise never to flood the earth again. I thought about the smells I've smelt though life the good smells and the bad smells. I asked the kids about the bad smells. By this time in the week we'd been deep in the woods for a few days now. There was a ripe smell of teenage body order and bug spray.... it was lovely. But we talked about the good smells. We talked about the campfire and how that is very distinctive. How a campfire can take you back to the times when you're with others and how there have been good times around it. God is present through those good times as we're having fellowship with others.
The last day of the trip we talked about seeing God. I purposely choose the sense of sight to be talked about the last day because I was hoping I'd be able to ask the question, "Where did you see God during this trip" and the hope was every kid was able to list of countless ways they saw God. After some prying though (after all they're all teenagers) I got how they were able to see God through the otters some saw and the beauty of the BWCA. To see God's presence in our lives is so important. To see the way God works though what's going on in the world and in relationships is a big part of understanding your faith and life. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God" God is in everything. It doesn't take looking very hard and there God will be.
I really enjoyed writing the bible study for the kids on this trip and I hope some of them were able to get something out of it and take a piece of it home with them.
I'd love to discuss this study farther with people if anybody wants too. I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of what we can understand through "Sensing God"