A Walk with Creator and Creation
I had been thinking of a ‘prayer walk’ in Saskatoon since the spring. At that point I didn’t have a sense of the form it would take but more than 10 years ago I participated in such a walk in Waterloo, Ontario and found it meaningful. As I began doing some work on the Season of Creation, the idea of a prayer walk began to take shape.
The date of the walk was set for October 1 as a way to end the Season of Creation. I started watching the weather forecast wondering what the day would be like. Rain, sun, or maybe even snow?
So on Sunday afternoon, shortly before the walk was to begin, I found myself in my car watching the rain pound down on the windshield. At least I had packed a good umbrella. Would anyone else show up or would I do this walk by myself? … in the rain? A few minutes later there were six of us gathered around the Peace Prayer Pole in Rotary Park along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.
We gathered there with rain gear and began with these words. “The theme for the Season of Creation this year is taken from the prophet Amos: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24) With that verse echoing in our minds, it seems appropriate that we stand alongside the river and gather around this Peace Prayer Pole as there can’t be any true peace without justice for all.”
Justice and peace do go together in God’s kindom; one is not possible without the other. After acknowledging the history of the land we would walk upon, Treaty 6 land, and our debt to the first caretakers of the land, we began to walk. As we walked, the rain stopped and the umbrellas were retracted.
The trees and bushes around us blazed with their fall colours. Creation was all around us and under our feet; it was sustaining us and holding us up. However, after a time of walking along the path, amid the trees and other plants, we came to the University Bridge and the traffic of the street. The noise of the vehicles rolling along pavement, splashing through the gathered water, shocked our ears. It was a reminder that we are not separated from the active world of society but we live within that world. Our call is to speak into that reality and not retreat away from it.
At five points along our walk we stopped to pray: reading words of scripture, offering words to Creator, standing in solidarity with creation. At one of our stops, a man standing nearby joined our prayer circle. Another slept under cover on a bench in the gazebo. What did our prayer mean to them? We don’t know but I did hear a spoken “Amen” as the prayer ended. May God touch them as God, and they, touched us.
The walk ended 90 minutes after it began, in a circle of prayer overlooking the river. What did we accomplish, walking those four kilometres, speaking those words? Was it worthwhile? Was the Prayer Walk a success? I don’t have answers to those questions but I also don’t feel a need to answer those questions. Each of us who participated will have our own sense of what happened that afternoon. I’m glad we did it. It was good to be in the world, among creation, praying to God, and sharing time with others.