I Felt Like Having Church in the Forest

We went walking in the nature preserve near Douglas’ childhood home. We took the “easy” route, which is harder than anything we hike on here at home. It is called Lake Chabot, and it is about 8 miles of paved roads through a wooded area, surrounded by a man-made lake, complete with a dam. There are parts of it so beautiful that your soul stares in wonder that anything so wonderful could exist in the middle of a suburban city.

One such place that I wished I had been able to photograph is about two miles into the preserve, and it consists of tall trees, not quite as tall as redwoods, but huge, that tower above the ground. The trees are so old that they have grown a canopy over the earth below. Through that canopy, the sunlight streams down, and there is a sense of peace there that seems to cause everyone to stop and take notice of this section of the walking path. It was an earthen cathedral in the midst of a walking trail.

Children wanted to play on the fallen logs, but I could just picture a group of us, in choir robes, signing hymns of praise to God, resulting in such awe for our Creator. I found myself looking up and praying words of thanksgiving for life, love, laughter, and lessons from the Father. I did not want to go any further, but felt the desire to fall on my knees, with my face toward the rising sun, singing, “Oh, Lord, have mercy on me!”

We stood around for a little while, but then finished our walk, because it was cold, which is normal for areas near San Francisco in the summer. It is ironic that while we were walking, we passed a woman carrying nearly 28 pounds of stuff in a backpack and walking with purpose. I don’t know how it happened, but we ended up stopped and talking to her.

She was preparing to travel to Portugal or Spain to participate in a 200 mile pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). The backpack was exactly how many pounds of gear she plans to take with her, so she is getting acclimated, so she has a good chance of completing the walk.

I learned from her that Santiago stands for St. James! She spent nearly fifteen or twenty minutes telling us the stories of St. James and his life in Portugal and Spain. I was definitely intrigued, as one of the young women whose blog I follow just completed 80 miles of the walk with her mother. What a journey to aspire to complete!

Other people’s faith inspires me, for there is a sense that we are not alone in our beliefs, and, in some ways, their faith affirms our own. It was probably not a coincidence that we met her just about where that cathedral-like spot was, for my soul was still joyful and I was open to talking about the Lord.

It felt almost like being on holy ground, and that I needed to remove my shoes. We need more earthen cathedrals in out-of-the-way places that remind us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1). In these sacred places, you feel as though nothing can defeat you, and that you really are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loves us (Romans 8:37)!

In response to August Writing Prompts from Putting My Feet in the Dirt.

Scott’s Daily Prompt is Defeat.

3 thoughts on “I Felt Like Having Church in the Forest

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  1. I love feeling God and worshiping Him in nature. There is such purity and love there. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sanctuary full of praise as well but with nature I seem to get a more one on one connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. There is nothing to distract our spirits, so we abide wwith Christ through the Holy Spirit living in us and walking beside us. It is truly a one-on-one experience that cannot be beat. It is real, for there is no one to impress, an audience of Three in One (God, Don, and Holy Spirit). Thank you for reading and commenting. It means so much to us. Regina

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