He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. – Psalm 23
This week’s activity for the summer sermon series at our church, Decatur Presbyterian Church, is to take pictures of green pastures and still waters. Today, my daughter and I spent some time walking along the walkways of the Olmstead Linear Parks along Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta. The linear parks, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (he designed New York’s Central Park and Prospect Park) are a green oasis set against a very busy roadway.
On our way to the parks, I narrowly escaped ramming into a car that cut across in front of me as I was coming through an intersection. Although I was calm during the moment of close impact, the adrenaline hit me soon after. I spent a few minutes doing some deep breathing and thanking God for keeping us safe.
Psalm 23 seemed especially appropriate to contemplate after this scary experience!
Walking along and admiring the beautiful landscaping did much to restore my soul (and blood pressure!) Then I saw the opening lines of Psalm 23 on the marquee sign outside the Atlanta Primitive Baptist Church. It brought a smile to my face to see another affirmation that we were in the right place for contemplating God’s presence in our life.
After our walk, we decided to head over to the Lake Claire Community Land Trust. The Land Trust is another urban oasis where we enjoy spending our time. It’s a safe place for my daughter to play and explore, and we often visit Big Lou the Emu. While there today, we watched the turtles and dragonflies cavort in their small pond. The co-op members and volunteers have done much to create a serene and peaceful retreat away from the constant buzz of Dekalb Avenue only several hundred yards away.
We are so fortunate to have these green spaces nearby to restore our spirit when the pressures of living weigh upon us. God is made manifest in the beauty and splendor of nature, for respite, nourishment and delight. And God works through the many people who create and maintain these spaces for us to visit and enjoy. I am so grateful.
My daughter asked me today during our nature walks, “Do you think God gets tired of making all of this nature?” to which I replied, “No, I think God probably enjoys it a lot.”