Nearer, My God, to Thee

O Lord, I have always found you closer
	in the light streaming through branches
		than through stained glass,
	in the sound of leaves underfoot
		than the harmonies of organ,
	in the scent of humus and moss
		than incense on the altar.

Why, then, do I neglect to come here,
	into this first chapel, first sanctuary
	where you walked with Adam and Eve
	when all things were younger?

This trail requires presence.
	Ten thousand steps to step,
	each one a danger:
		a rolled ankle
		a trip and fall
		a missed mark and I am lost.

But this rock and root strewn trail
	seems better to me
	than the smooth and falsely easy trail I typically traverse.

This trail breathes life.

 My routine route respirates regret.

Most days I submit to the siren song
	of importance and deadlines
	of tasks that must be accomplished now;
	even tasks done in your name, O Lord,
		and for your Kingdom’s sake;
	and I regret.

I regret
	what time I have spent on the smooth trail
	what I have done and what I have not
	what I have said and what I have not.
Even, when this incorrectly inescapable treadmill trail becomes too much,
	I regret that you made me;
	I regret that I am.

But I have never regretted
	one moment
	out here
	with you.

3 thoughts on “Nearer, My God, to Thee

  1. Beautifully written and I can relate. I have found that I am nearer to God in places I never thought about before. not a building but a digital device in one room. I have drawn nearer to God among the halls of crying and moans and chaos. But I have found God and
    he held me near I forgot that many times butnoe I know God is always near to me,no matter where I
    am. I am not forgotten We must look and find him wherever our own sancutary is., outdoors,on a trail.
    in a beautiful building or. in the midst of pain ,noise and hurting. He is near.
    Thank you for your comforting words.


  2. Your poem spoke to my weary soul. I am blessed to live (in retirement) on the farm where I grew up in southwest Missouri. God greets me every morning when I awaken, then again when I step outdoors to see the new day. I think God prefers to hang out with me in the woods and meadows here because I pay closer attention to God in these outdoor spaces. God’s creation reveals God to me through the hooded merganser diving ducks on our farm pond, through the white tailed deer standing up from a good night’s sleep in the tall grass, through honey bees looking for pollen on these 70+ degree winter days, through bald eagles soaring overhead.

    I have not regretted that God made me, but my heart grieves for my role in degrading God’s good creation and for my species’ long term destruction of our climate.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.


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