TRAC WSCS Silent Retreat at Botanic Gardens
THIS was an unusual silent retreat. It was a two-hour “Wander and Wonder Walk with Jesus” at the Botanic Gardens on April 5, 2008.
Organised by the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS), the purpose of the retreat was for the participants to get “Time out to tune in”, and the focus was on the theme “And He walks with me, talks with me … ”
In this walk we were to use our eyes (see), use our ears (hear), use our nose (smell) and use our heart (feel) as we wandered around the gardens in silence, talked to no one but walked with God and conversed with Him in our hearts as we feasted on the wonders of His creation in the gardens.
As it was my first time participating in such a retreat, I did not know what to expect and so, guided by some given prompters, I began to wander around with a prayer in my heart for God to lead, direct and teach.
What did I see? I saw rich greenery and fauna and the intricacies of their formation.
In my wander and walk, I passed by a very tall tree named “The Heritage Tree”. The tree trunk appeared very sturdy and its branches and leaves spread out wide. As I gazed at the tree, I was reminded of my heritage in Jesus – how I am chosen, redeemed, sanctified and given the privilege to be called a precious child of God [Jn 1:12]; how I can stand tall and strong as I remain in Jesus who is said to be “the vine” and I am one of His “branches”, and that “apart from Him I can do nothing but when I remain in Him I can bear much fruit”. [Jn 15:5].
What did I hear? Sounds from birds, insects, water, etc.
My next reflection was on the varied sounds that I heard as I walked along the paths. Sounds of different types, from birds, crickets, water, etc, and all seemed to be in harmony with one another. What a joyful noise they made! Could we be like them, I wondered? We, in our noisemaking, must also be in unity, not backbiting, rejoicing with each new day of life that God has given to each one of us.
Water, as we all know, does have a cooling and calming effect no matter how we see it. After a walk the sight of water cascading in a mini-waterfall was indeed a refreshing sight. As I gazed at the water cascading down, I immediately felt a cooling-down effect within me.
This brought to my mind the refreshing outpouring of the Holy Spirit and its calming effect on one’s anguished, agitated or troubled spirit, as we read in Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well [John 4:13-14]. Truly the Holy Spirit is gentle, tender yet powerful in many ways!
What did I smell? The fragrance of the trees, plants and flowers.
As I observed the flora I marvelled at the myriad of colours and their various fragrances. Oh, how these colours complemented one another and nothing was gaudy. As I noticed the vibrant colours of the many species of flowers, I especially noted the white ones for they looked so purely white and regal. This reminded me that when we allow Jesus through the Scriptures to nurture us, we too can be pure, sanctified and can stand significantly regal, but when we allow sin to remain in us, we get blemished (like the petals full of holes eaten by insects) and rot away.
What did I feel or sense?
The flora and the fauna and their intricacies are proof of God’s wonder hands of creativity.
The many sounds I heard are harmonious and not jarring to the ears.
The various trees, flowers, etc exude fragrances that complement each other in spite of the fertilizers used.
I am convinced that I need Jesus every hour even though I know and believe that I am safe in His holy hands.
The spiritual walk has again proven that our Heavenly Father is indeed an awesome God and without a doubt a God of order and not disorder. Nature speaks very loudly about this truth! Praise be unto Him who is the same yesterday, today and forever!
Rosalind Foong is a member of The Methodist Church Of The Incarnation.