Today for lunch I went with a couple of women from church for a picnic on the river in town. Because I don't live here I don't know all of these areas, and the woman who invited us did this to introduce us to the trails there. She provided the picnic lunch as well. What a gift! There are beautiful trails along the Crow River and it was a cool, sunny, breezy day to be out there. This is the kind of day where it feels like worship to be in the natural environment. I like church, but I experience God myself most deeply in the natural world. Maybe it's because I'm always responsible for church - preaching, worship, etc. I do feel God's presence in all of it, but it is in the quiet moments of beauty and reflection that my soul is nurtured most. Nature, with all of its intricacies and variety, provides endless moments of soul tending. From the sound of the wind in the trees, the birds, the wildflowers, the flowing river and the noises of branches dropping, fish jumping. God's creation is one of the most extraordinary and awesome things in life to experience. What I wonder about is how I can get so caught up in life and work that I don't take the time to experience it more often? So, for today I am thankful for that hour along the river. I am thankful for a God who created such an amazing world. I am thankful for the way my soul and spirit feel lighter and more bouyant. I am thankful that my soul was nourished with the experience, the way my body was nourished with the food, and the way I was nourished with the gift of fellow human beings to share the experience with.