Every day during Lent, members of Oconee Street UMC will write a Lenten devotional and share with the congregation.
by Sharon Nester
March 31, 2014
“…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
I only recently realized that it has been nearly 12 years since I started walking the trails at our beautiful State Botanical Gardens here in Athens. For a long time I walked there every Saturday and Sunday morning. No matter the season I would be there walking, only skipping days when the weather was especially rainy or cold. In the beginning I came for the exercise and to enjoy being surrounded by nature. Very soon I found that these walks had become my special time with God. Sometimes I prayed as I walked, but not always. Sometimes I tried to clear my mind and just concentate on the beauty around me. Often I felt rewarded by the sight of one of the owls or hawks, the deer or wild turkeys. perhaps even the rare sight of a river otter climbing out of the river. There were times a few song lyrics or part of a melody seemed to drift into my mind on a breeze. So often I felt the Holy Spirit walked with me and almost from the beginning I kept a journal so that I could go back and relive some of my special moments there on The Garden trails.
The above passage from the Gospel of John touched me deeply one day as I read it and it has stayed with me as one of my favorite quotes from Jesus. It was this passage that came to me as I walked the Orange trail one summer. I saw ahead of me a spot on the trail lit up by a shaft of morning light coming down through the trees. As I came to that light I closed my eyes and turned my face and hands up to the warmth of the sun. My mind was clear except for that one passage from John’s Gospel. I felt as though the light was not just flowing over me, but washing through me. What a blessing to feel so loved and so at peace for those few moments in that beautiful place!
Unfortunately, I don’t make it to The Gardens as often as I used to but I do go when I can. It certainly isn’t the only place or way that a person can feel a connection with God, but it is a way for me. May we all find at least one such place and find some time in our busy lives to spend there.
Prayer: Lord, you truly are the light of the world. Help us to find quiet spaces and moments to open our hearts so that we might see your light, feel your presence and rest in your peace. Amen