Psalm 23:1-3 (NRSV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; a 
3 he restores my soul. b He leads me in right paths c for his name’s sake.

Matthew 14:23 (NRSV)

23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,                            

DEVOTION – Sue Fairchild (Pennsylvania)

When I switched jobs a few years ago, I started taking my lunch hour at a local park.  Even in the winter months, I try to make at least one loop around the park I order to breathe in the fresh air and to be in God’s presence.  Time away from office noise, stress and artificial light allows me to focus my mind so that I can tackle the afternoon with renewed sense of energy.

Jesus took time for himself as well.  Even with all demands from the people who surrounded him, Jesus took time alone to speak to his Father.  He used the time – surrounded by nature and away from his disciples and the crowds – to cry out, to be vulnerable, and to find the strength to move on.  If Jesus needed a moment for prayer and meditation, surely we do too.

Psalm 23 tells us that God leads us to quiet pastures and still waters to refresh our souls.  My daily walks have helped me to see what God has provided for me in the trees, water, wind, and serene outdoors.  My lunchtime walks help me maintain a peaceful attitude and renew my faith.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Taking time away brings us closer to God.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for giving us time to enjoy the natural world and to find peace with you.  Amen.