Reflections (Day 36)

July 11, 2021, By: Jimmy Scruggs


Starter Prayer: Lord Jesus, our Light of the World: Thank you for opening my eyes to new wonders and new ways of praying. I receive your wisdom and freedom with Joy. Amen

Focus Phrase: An Altar

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104; John 1:1-14

Optional Read-along: Water, Wind, Earth and Fire pp. 137-139a  (Conclusion, first quotes and essay).

Spiritual Direction:

I write words for this closing week with one eye on CNN:) Fareed Zakaria is interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson about space. The astrophysicist is explaining things like: Why the sky is blue and why the sun appears red-orange. (I immediately ordered Tyson’s newest book about space!)

As humans, we find ourselves in a critical moment in relation to just about everything– especially the natural world. I’m glad we’ve had these 42 days together to grow our awareness of God’s goodness and the gift of nature. I hope we will all be changed in the way we cherish creation and our daily ways of prayer.

From Ralph Waldo Emerson: All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain; the river, its channel in the soil; the animal, its bones in the stratum; the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or the stone. Not a foot steps into the snow or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of the [person] inscribes itself in the memories of its fellows, and in his own manners and face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of tokens, the ground is all memoranda and signature, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent.

From Christine Valters Paintner: We are each called to deepen our capacity to behold the wonders of the natural world and to expand our capacity to love God’s creation. This love isn’t a distan, observing love, but one that calls us to enter deeply into the heart of nature and discover ourselves as an integral part.

As we close this journey, we will walk through a prayer experience to bring together our awareness of the four elements. Each day this week, we will add an element and prayer guidance. Today, our task is one of preparation.

For prayer practice: On an “altar” place a cross in the center and then a symbol of each of the elements. For example, for air you might use a feather, for fire a candle, for water a bowl with water, and for earth a stone. Your altar could be your kitchen table or a spot on your deck. Any place will do. In the next five days we will return to this “altar” and move through one simple reflection and words of prayer each day.

Be encouraged in your practice,

Katie Martinez


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This daily devotion is part of the Summer Growth Journey: Learning to Pray with Nature with Crossroads Church. Many of us are also reading through Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner. To purchase a copy, or for more information, email us at [email protected].