Are God and a sense of the divine to be experienced only in a church or synagogue building on the day of worship, or does nature provide an additional way to experience God?
The Rev. Christopher Moore believes it does, and he will be offering this perspective at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Rehoboth Beach, when he speaks on “The Spirituality of Nature.” The program will take place in the church’s Parish Hall at 18 Olive Ave.
“We are so used to worshiping God inside a building,” says Moore. “This is traditionally how the gathered community comes together. But there is also another way to experience God’s presence, and that is by means of the healing power of nature.
“We think of Native Americans as having a nature-based spirituality,” Moore points out. “But the spiritual path of nature is also found in our own Judeo-Christian tradition. The Old Testament psalmist expresses this point of view when he writes, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein.’ Jesus constantly uses nature images in his teaching and preaching. Jesus speaks of seeds, of vineyards, of the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. Reflecting on these images has much to teach us moderns as we reassess our relationship with nature and attempt to get back in touch with some of the deeper roots of our own spirituality."
“The Spirituality of Nature” is the fourth program in the series Spirituality Outside the Box: Living a Spiritual Life in the 21st Century, sponsored by All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
An avid hiker and backpacker, Moore is priest associate at All Saints’ and also the author of three books on spirituality. His last book, “Solitude: A Neglected Path to God,” describes his faith experiences in nature.
“My periodic hikes up to the Delaware Water Gap in northern New Jersey over the years, as well as in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Grand Canyon and other places of great natural beauty, have enriched my life in immeasurable ways and have also brought me closer to God in ways that supplement indoor worship. For me, nature is not a substitute for more conventional forms of worship but an important adjunct to it. Sometimes the trees and the woods and the sky above are my prayer book,” says Moore.
In his talk Moore will draw upon the legacy of nature writers and environmentalists such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and, more recently, Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods.”
The last program in the Spirituality Outside the Box series will be Wednesday, Aug. 28, when the Rev. Tilden Edwards, an Episcopal priest, author of numerous books, and founder and longtime director of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C., will speak on “Contemplation - East and West.” All programs are open to the public at no charge. Parking is available on the street or in the church parking lot at the corner of Olive Avenue and First Street in Rehoboth. Light refreshments, courtesy of The Ice Cream Store on Rehoboth Avenue, will be available at the conclusion of each program.