Placefulness

Monday, April 22, 2024
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Listen while you read: "Tell Me The Old Old Story"1 (Lyrics)

Acts 17:26b-27 – He allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. (NRSV)

Is there anything special about the address you call home? Today's verse suggests that it is no accident that you are where you are.

Since moving to Petpeswick Inlet, Nova Scotia, Canada, my wife Jeanne and I have developed a daily practice. Each day begins with our morning prayer over food, including thanksgiving for place — this place in which we live and move and have our being during most days. Our day ends by going out to our deck overlooking the inlet and simply absorbing the land and seascape before us with a silent and not so silent prayer to the Creator of the land before us, the waters of the inlet, and the star-studded sky above us. We encourage one another and celebrate the "boundaries of the places where [we] live". This place helps us "search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us."

Placefulness is simply a word inviting us to be aware of where we live and to connect with the creation immediately around us. It is more than awareness, in that it is the beginning of a contemplative practice of placefulness. Like any spirituality worth its salt, that means integrating the good, the bad and the ugly in the places that we live, especially as climate change takes a deeper hold on the world.

How might the idea of placefulness affect our approach to our meditative and prayer life? On a very earthly level, placefulness invites us to get to know better the place that we call home and how we can be good stewards. Connect with all the living things around you, from the grasses that grow and the birds that soar, to the people who make up your community. Do you ever think of the impact that your daily living has on the immediate world around you, like where your garbage and recycling goes and where your sewer flows? To celebrate Earth Week (April 21-28), a faith-based coalition is engaged in For the Love of Creation which takes us beyond our immediate "place" to the entire creation that God has given us.

There are times when I find myself breathless as I look at the world around me and in awe of the beauty that the Creator authored from the beginning of time.

This earth may not be our home, as the old hymn reminds us, but it is the place that God has planted us, rooted us, and given us the task to nourish and tend. "To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul." (Simone Weil)

Prayer: God, You've placed us here on this plot of holy ground, and we give You thanks. In deepest gratitude, we acknowledge Your presence in this place, in every rock and reef, in every season and solstice. Amen.

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Very well done.


    Thanks for sharing!


    Such wise words, Kenn.


    Thank you for a great reminder!!


    Thank you Kenn for a super devotional!


    Thank you, Kenn, for a beautiful and thoughtful devotion. We are so thankful for all God’s Blessings in our lives. His creation is a gift every day.


    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. Sounds like you’re living in a little piece of heaven on this earth. To God be the glory! Blessings.


    Kenn – As a country girl transplanted into the city in my seventh decade, I am blessed by the nuggets of wisdom from the Bible that you bring to clarity. Thanks for your faithfulness.


    Thank you Kenn. This resonates with me so much and you have put to words what I have felt for years. May God bless you and this gift of writing and awareness that you share.


    Thank you, Kenn. This describes my feelings as well: There are times when I find myself breathless as I look at the world around me and in awe of the beauty that the Creator authored from the beginning of time.


    I love the thoughts you’ve brought to mind with this devotional, Kenn. This verse has been a longtime favorite of mine, reminding me that God has not only intentionally placed me in the place where I live, but He has also chosen my time in history. Both His time and place for me are just right.


    Good morning Kenn,
    Just over ten years ago we moved from our 4 acres on the outskirts of town to a small bungalow in town. We are thankful every day. (I do miss my pigeons and chickens though.)
    Thank you for writing.


    Good morning Kenn,
    Very interesting concept of God putting us in a special place. I looked at the website and investigate some of the happenings across Canada. Thanks for sharing some of how you and your wife enjoy where you live and encouraging us all to remember to be grateful for all that is around us. Blessings.


    Good morning, Kenn!
    Thank you for this beautiful prayer.
    “Prayer: God, You’ve placed us here on this plot of holy ground, and we give You thanks. In deepest gratitude, we acknowledge Your presence in this place, in every rock and reef, in every season and solstice. Amen.”


    Good morning Kenn,
    I really enjoyed this today and so my heart too is full of God’s creation and so thankful everyday that He has put me here. I have never heard the quote before, but it is so true — to be rooted!!!!
    God has given us so much to enjoy and take care of and the ability to do so.
    We are truly blessed.


    Greetings Kenn and many thanks for your interesting and encouraging devotional today. Yes, we need be grateful for the beauty of the creations in the places God has created for us. There certainly is a variety of places throughout our world for us to discover and then there is the great “place” for us when comes time of our eternal home. Blessings for your writing and keep enjoying the beauty of your “placefulness”.


    Hi Kenn
    Thanks again for the right words as the right time.
    I have been struggling with the choice to make a move to a more senior appropriate living or remain in the house that my husband and I bought together.
    Health suggests a move is eminent, but timing is the issue – and the dreaded adventure of a major downsizing and getting rid of a lot of “Stuff” that was important, but I really don’t need any longer, is a daunting task.
    I’m so happy that you and Jeanne found your special place and are able to enjoy all that it offers.


    I too live in a location of choice and thank God each morning with a rich feeling of placefulness. It is at the northern tip of a lake that sustains me, well placed between three or four choirs and two churches I am involved in, but what of those who haven’t the choice? I feel for those who live in urban high-rise jungles and live far from watching the seasons unfold, or those displaced who long for the homes left behind for reasons not of their choice.
    I guess the story of Exodus is all about searching for placefulness and what a blessing it is for those who find it. Thanks for your post.
    (ON)


    I appreciate your thoughts, Kenn. We live on a ranch in rural Texas…moved here after living in the city for many years. Your devotional caused me to think about the difference in the two places and how each affected my connection to God. Each offered that in different ways…perhaps because I just got through pulling weeds from the flower garden, I am thinking more kindly about the very large city with a very diverse population but a city where we found great witnesses for God. AND, now as I look outside at all the greenery (we have been blessed with amazing wildflowers this year) and our creek, I know how blessed I am to be here.
    (Texas)


    Hi, Kenn and Jeanne!
    Again you have given us a timely reading!
    Thank you for helping us feel ´rooted’ where we are. May we find peace, comfort, and meaning as we realize we are where our Creator intends, at this moment in time.
    Earth Day is a gift to us, as we cherish the many gifts we enjoy daily. Also we are called to do our part in preserving what is good, healthy, non-polluting to the best of our ability.
    A life-long friend reads the devotions and forwards yours to me! It is ‘ round-about’ but appreciated!
    I try not to envy your beautiful location! At least I can see the Bedford Basin from my balcony, so I gratefully observe that.


    Thanks Kenn,
    Faithful and insightful. I too am most concerned about climate change – mostly for my grandchildren. For years I have felt the world as we know it is ending … then I heard on the radio that the fear through ALL generations has been that the world is ending! Gives one pause…
    Blessings.

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