An eco-retreat: listening to God in Nature
St Mark’s Diocese in Polokwane is situated in the northern part of South Africa. They are known as a Diocese that tries new things and for their clergy retreat this year, they held an Eco-retreat. We allowed time to listen to God’s speaking to us through nature.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4
The theme for the first day was water , and our early morning Eucharist was held next to a trickling water feature. In the Bible study and personal reflection we considered the spiritual value of water and how we can contribute to water justice in our communities. In our evening worship a moving ceremony of forgiveness was held , using water to release our pain, while Taize music gently played.
On day two we worshipped under a tree and considered how we can put down roots into God in order to give good fruit. The third day followed the theme of land and we considered the covenant between people, God and land and how we can best use church land for God and God’s people.
In our afternoon sessions we walked! The beautiful setting of Ave Maria retreat centre afforded us beautiful views as we walked the stations of the cross on one day and the Emmaus walk the second day.
In the evenings we watched inspiring videos about water and forests and were challenged by the reality of Climate change.
It was a joy to listen to God through nature!!
“There are things about God that people cannot see—his eternal power and all that makes him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. Rom 1:20”
A few comments from clergy who participated:
“I didn’t know that this thing of the environment is Christian, but now I understand that it is part of my ministry”
“I feel refreshed and inspired to bring care for creation into my church worship”