Lying in the cool grass, contemplating the stars above, I remember being a child and watching the dance of the fireflies, feeling that the summer night was full of mystery. Sometimes in my busy life, I forget to take the time to experience the simple joy of being peaceful in nature, of being still and knowing that He is God, but when I do, even for just a few minutes, I’m rewarded with a more peaceful spirit.
An abbot named Nikolai Velimovovich lived in a monastery by lovely Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. He wrote poems that are prayers called Prayers by the Lake.
They’re available online here: http://www.sv-luka.org/praylake/ as well as in book or audio format from Conciliar Press. They are beautiful, and Orthodox in that they aren’t just celebrating the beauty of God’s creation, but they are glorying in God Himself and reminding us of our right relationship to Him, to each other and to all things. These poems, composed in view of earthly beauty, are full of the beauty that transcends this life and would surely be a worthy addition to your summer reading.
Spring with its frantic growth and wild weather has passed and the gentle warmth of summer is here, slowing our pace and beckoning us to renew our spirits in the beauty with which God has surrounded us. It’s a beautiful season to revive our quiet prayer times, those precious times alone with God, and also to recharge our relationships, which naturally flow out of our relationship with God.
Lying in the grass in the dark, seeing the vastness of God’s visible creation yet remembering His love for the sparrow is a great way to begin that renewal.
You pour Your holy oil into the stars, O Holy Spirit, and out of senseless conflagrations You make vigil lamps before the Glory of Heaven. Pour Yourself into my soul also, and out of a passionate conflagration make a vigil lamp before the heavens. Bishop Nikolai Velimovovich