I hope this post finds you in a place of deep connection with God. As we move into the Lenten season, I want to talk about how we connect with and worship our Creator.
Our church’s Design Team has been using Gary Thomas’ Sacred Pathways to inform how we craft our services to best serve our congregations. For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ book, he outlines nine pathways by which we connect with and worship God. Each person will have one (or more) paths that they are drawn to and will likely have paths that do not come easily at all. For clarity’s sake, we have decided to use the term Worship Language to emphasize the idea that these are ways we speak to, hear from, and worship our God.
For those keeping track, here are the nine languages/pathways:
Today, we’re going to start our exploration with the Naturalist.
Naturalists connect with God outside. They deeply feel God’s presence when surrounded by the majesty of the mountains, or sweeping plains, or a delicate flower. God left His fingerprints all over His creation, and the more unspoiled this creation is, the more Naturalists can see the Creator.
If you find yourself stunned by the beauty of the outdoors, you may be a Naturalist. If you hear God’s voice more clearly when you get out of the city and go on a hike, you may be a Naturalist. If you find cities to be scars of human sinfulness on God’s otherwise perfect Creation, you may be a Naturalist.
Churches can find it hard to create experiences that allow Naturalists to worship God with their native language. Large windows with natural light, plant life, gardens, or pictures/paintings of nature can help. Sermons on the first two chapters of Genesis may do it. Farming metaphors or outdoorsy stories may speak better.
For any Naturalists reading this, it may be in your best interest to take time regularly to go out into nature just to be with God. Go to a retreat centre away from the city. Go for a hike alone or with fellow Naturalists and spend time soaking in the glory of God. Speak to Him and listen when you are away from the distractions of home and hearth.
You may also benefit from filling your home and work with landscape or wildlife photography. If you can, find an office with a view of the mountains. Or, build yourself a nice little cottage by the lake.
For your art, find a way to incorporate Creation into your creation. This may already be happening, if Naturalist is your primary worship language, but perhaps its something you should start looking into.
The danger for Naturalists is the temptation to worship God’s Creation instead of God Himself. Nature is beautiful, but remember that all of Creation was marred by humanity’s fall. As long as nature points to its Creator, you are good.
Bottom line for Naturalists: find more ways to be outside, talking and listening to God. From this place, join Him in creating!
If you are a Naturalist, how do you best connect with God?