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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 4: Praying With Creation — Story: Makai Prays With The Ocean

For Classroom or Home School

 

 
Spiritual Affirmation: My love for Creation is a way to pray and be with God.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

When we commune with life and creation in all Her forms, it is an act of prayer. It is also an act of trust – putting our trust in the greater cycles of life holding us in each moment. Consider the times you have looked out your window or gone for a walk, and even in that brief encounter with the natural world, you received a gift, a reminder, or maybe the answer to a problem you were trying to solve. God, as Creator and Creation, provides designers, engineers, scientists, artists – all of us! – resources and reassurances that we are part of one great web. An ancient wisdom is ever present. The trick, then, is to call upon it…and to trust it!

The lesson and story this week explores ways to feel Earth in us and celebrate the benefit we receive each time we recognize our place in the larger rhythms around us. In the simple act of remembering ourselves to Earth, we are praying with and for all Creation. We remember our Source, where we come from and where we will return. We commit to our relationship with Earth, being grateful for Her gifts and resources, and pledging to offer our care in a mutual exchange.

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson)

The immediacy of love, life and connection cannot be emphasized enough in this lesson. Many of us make prayer more difficult than it needs to be. If praying with Creation feels like a new practice for you, consider the ways nature surrounds us at any given moment: the wooden pencil in your

hand, the fresh strawberry slices in your cereal, the sacred geometry that formed the bridge you drive over each day. The circuit boards inside our technology mirrors the mycelial web in our soil. Grains of sand manifest as stained glass windows or the lenses through which you are reading right now! Recognizing our place in nature can be a simple form of meditation, reflection and prayer. Give yourself to Creation this week….and notice what happens!

Option One — Go outside! When our species enters an outdoor space – be it our backyard or a wild spot in the woods = it takes twenty minutes for the other species who are there to resume their normal rhythms. Whether or not you have twenty minutes, simply notice as the sounds around you stop, shift or resume in response to your presence in the space. In your stillness, let your more-than- human family members know you are here as a friend (not a threat). More importantly, let them know you are interested in hearing whatever they want to communicate. Allow yourself to listen for a full minute.. You might want to close your eyes to listen with your ears OR you might want to listen with your eyes and receive the messages being offered in what you see. When the minute is up, affirm the teaching and offer your gratitude with an “amen,” “blessed be,” “thank you,” or similar phrase that is meaningful to you.

Option Two — Review Activity One below and play with mandalas this week. Begin to notice mandalas in the world around you — light fixtures, ingredients going into your dinner salad, a pattern of light on your car window, etc. — and embrace them as part of your prayer practice.

About Mandalas — A mandala is a tool for seeing the Divine. Many Traditions embrace the mandala as a way to pray. We might initially think of the Tibetan sand mandalas, or the Rose window in a Cathedral. Once we are looking for them, though, mandalas appear everywhere…especially in the natural world! Look for “nature mandalas” online for stunning and inspiring images! You may also enjoy looking at the spiritual practice of Day Schildkret, an artist and wanderer who has created a global movement.

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one). Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so that you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah 55:12 (NRSV)

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Christian Scriptures. Luke 6:12 (NRSV)

Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.

Shinto. Urabe-no-Kanekuni

Even in a single leaf of a tree, or a tender blade of grass, the awe-inspiring Deity manifests itself.

Wisdom Quotes

I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. ― Alice Walker

Nobody can be in good health if he does not have all the time, fresh air, sunshine and good water. ― Chief Flying Hawk, Oglala Lakota Nation

The natural world demands a response beyond scientific insight. The natural world demands a response that rises from the wild unconscious depths of the human soul.
― Thomas Berry, The Great Work

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary