A Sunday Outdoors!

  • Posted on Sep 26, 2012

And God saw that it was good….

In the story of creation right at the very beginning of the Bible in the Book of Genesis, God created the world and all that we know as creation over seven days.  As God accomplished a creative task, he sat back and declared that the creation was good.  I imagined then that God smiled contentedly.  

If I had only one day left to live, I would certainly live most of that day outdoors with people I love.  Since my earliest days, I have always found the outdoors to be life-giving and refreshing.  The earliest pictures of me in the family album are taken in our garden.  As a young girl, I spent most of my Saturdays in the garden.  As an only child, I had all sorts and conditions of solitary games.  I climbed trees.  I spent a good deal of time singing to myself and swinging on my swing in the horse chestnut tree.  I built a hut in the corner of the garden for reading and imagining.  As I entered middle school, I began to hang out with with friends.  Unless it was raining hard, we all tended to be outside all day long on Saturday.  Back then, there were not soccer or lacrosse games or scheduled events.  Instead, we roamed Old Town Alexandria–then a sleepy little town.  My favorite Saturday was this:  Get on my purple banana-seat bike and head east down to the Potomac River where my best friend Carolyn lived.  We then went on bike rides all over town.  As we entered high school, we might get a burger at the Warehouse restaurant or play a game of tennis.  In the late afternoon, I made the trip back “uptown” to my house in time for Saturday night dinner at home.  I don’t remember much of what we did—only be together and explore in the outdoors.  I mostly remember the breeze on my face as I tucked my legs onto my handlebars and sailed down the hill to Carolyn’s house–hoping to engage the brakes before the stop sign at the bottom of the hill.  A Saturday of pure freedom.

This Sunday, Memorial Church will have a Sunday Outdoors.  I’m hoping it will be a time for the Memorial family to gather and celebrate creation.  Kind of like my Saturdays long ago.  Ride your bike or walk over or drive to the Liberty Pavilion at Druid Hill Park.  Park in the Zoo parking lot and look east.  A set of steps will take you up to the Liberty Pavilion.  If steps are difficult, come around to the front of the Pavilion.  There will be signs to direct you.   Bring a blanket or outdoor chairs.  There are picnic tables and a grill.  Bring some food to share.  Dress casually.  We will bless the pets as part of the service so bring pets on a leash or in a carrier or bring a picture.  

Here’s my schedule:  I’m riding my bike over to get there at 9:30.  Bryan will drive and arrive with some sports equipment.  We can play touch football or kickball or just run around.  The service starts at 10:30 at the Pavilion.  St Luke’s Carey Street will join us for the service.  We’ll have a guitarist and singing. We’ll say prayers of thanksgiving for creation and we’ll bless the animals and have communion together.  Afterwards, time for food.  Lee and Janet will have a main dish.  We’ll all dig in. Bryan and I are ready to challenge anyone to tennis after the service.  You could even make a day of it and visit the zoo in the afternoon.  Bryan and I are going to the last home Os game of the year.

The idea for the outdoor service came from our Bishop–the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton–who asked all the congregations in the Diocese of Maryland to honor creation with an outdoor service in September.  Now, this Sunday feels like a Saturday of long ago for me.  I’m ready to feel the breeze in my face on my bike.  I’m ready to be outdoors for most of the day.  Ready to be fed with some good food but most of all, with my church family that feeds me in so many ways all year long.  And all under the canopy of beautiful old trees and on a carpet of green grass.  Pure Freedom!  I hope to see you there.  

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