A congregation of the United Church of Canada
September 22, 2021
One of my devotional practices comes to me once a week via email. It’s from a creative team called Salt of the Sound. Primarily they offer swirly, ambient, meditative music compositions and soundscapes, and they also marry those sounds to nature video loops to create prayerful meditations for both the eyes and ears. They call it [PAUSE].
This week’s offering had a bushy pine tree on a hillside with lots of tall foliage around. The light is muted, and the plants are dancing in the wind, bowing to and fro. The pine tree is the variety that has it’s branches all reaching up, so in the blowing wind it really looks like the tree has its arms raised in the air and is swaying in worship and awe of God. (And yes, I kind of chuckled to myself as I remembered singing the wrong words on Sunday morning about the trees of the field clapping their hands!) There is also a single pink flower, standing alone in a sea of green, dancing along with its siblings. And in the background there are gently floating flashes of light making the sky feel spiritually energized.
I was absolutely drawn in by this flowing image and sound this morning. It transported me back to my favourite place in Ireland called Ardmore – a tiny little coastal town that we just happened upon while travelling. We went for a walk along the ocean coastline and the long grasses in the fields were flowing and dancing in the wind just like in the video loop I saw this morning. I closed my eyes and could feel the wind blowing on my face. I could even smell the ocean. It was a beautiful and sacred moment. Time and space and distance all disappeared. There was nothing but presence. I felt blessed, and full, and grounded.
The [PAUSE] videos also include scripture. This one quoted Psalm 91:1-2 “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: Adonai alone is my refuge, my place of safety; God is my God, and I trust them.”
And I raise my arms like the pine tree, and breathe ever so deeply, and praise God for this sacred moment. I wish they were more common, but I know that’s not because God isn’t always present. It’s because I’m usually too distracted to notice. But for whatever reason today I did. I paused. I noticed. And it blessed me. What helps you pause and notice God’s presence?