Pondering Creation

Children have an amazing capacity to wonder if we only allow them the time and space to do so. I love spending time out in God’s world exploring with my grandchildren and noticing how they view the world. By watching a worm moving across their hand, climbing a tree, or watching the night sky in all its splendour, they have the opportunity to think deeply about the complexity and beauty of creation. Children can awaken our adult senses to the intricacies of creation as we look with fresh eyes on the natural world around us. In my recent trip to Arnhem Land I spent hours with my granddaughter playing in a creek bed, catching tiny fish in a repurposed jar and then releasing them. We clambered over ancient rocks, dipped into the natural sand pit, and lit a fire for our lunch. We put a big tree branch in the sandy river bed to croc proof our swimming spot, and then we floated on the sandy shallows looking up at the azure sky and fluffy white clouds. 

Although we can’t all be outback we can enjoy all the goodness of creation around us and at MECS we have plenty of that! MECS Primary wants to allow our students time and space to deeply explore God’s world through their studies and to respond to God’s good gifts in this world through worship, service, and/or being a part of restoration. 

This year MECS Primary has aligned our Core Studies units across the whole Primary School so that we are focusing on one single thread or idea that runs through the whole Primary School curriculum. In first term we looked at ‘Building Community’. This was a great way to start the year and get priorities in the right place to build on a solid foundation of inclusion and belonging. This term we have been exploring the thread of ‘Pondering Creation’. Each cluster has looked at this through their studies, excursions, camps and class work. As a school we are able to celebrate together in our GTs (Get Togethers). 

This brings me back to the opening statements about allowing time to ponder, explore, and wonder by looking at various aspects of creation. There is no better time than this lockdown week to avail yourself of the opportunity to explore God’s gift of nature. In her book The Well- Gardened MIND: The Restorative Power of Nature, psychiatrist Sue Stuart-Smith tells the story of the healing power of being in nature and in particular of gardening. She relates the recovery story of her grandfather and how he learnt to  live with the trauma of having been a POW in World War 1. She tells how his commitment to his garden and being in nature assisted him on the long recovery to physical and mental health and wellbeing. In this book Sue explores how nature and in particular gardens can assist us today to re-find our place in the world when we feel we have lost it. 

This week our students were once again spending more time on screens and online. They were inside, they may have been isolated, stressed and/or anxious. We all need to ensure that screen time ends and our young people go outside to feel the wind on their face, explore outside, bike ride, walk, build cubbies, climb trees, garden, play, and enjoy the natural world. My encouragement for all of us including the adults, is to get our work done and get outside. As we face the uncertainties of life at the moment, the stresses on families, businesses, relationships, and the strains on mental health for both adults and young people, let me encourage us all both young and old, to let nature and ‘pondering of creation’ to restore a sense of equilibrium and wellbeing. May God’s wonderful world be a balm to our souls.