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Organic Prayer: A Spiritual Gardening Companion

Seabury books (2007)
RRP $24.95

Organic prayer is defined by the author as “a metaphor both for my contemplation of God and for my attempt to live in harmony with God’s creation”.

Living in harmony with God’s creation proved to be the author’s attempt to listen, feel, touch, see the rhythm of an aspect of creation, learn from it, and, through that meditation, springboard her thoughts to Creator God, rather than a leaving of lighter footprints in the world.

In her first meditation on soil, Ms Roth says, “When I think about placing one foot in front of the other across the various terrains that have formed my life’s geography, I cannot help but be filled with wonder simply that there is a world through which to move and I am alive in it.”

Ms Roth draws on insights at times from Hildegard of Bingen, St. Francis and Teresa of Avila.

There are meditations on elements such as rocks, trees, seeds, pests and weed control, and she uses drawing and all our senses to approach her meditations.

I liked the illustration of listening by programming silence.

Ms Roth cites composer John Cage’s orchestral work titled 4 minutes 33 seconds, where the orchestra files on stage with their instruments and instead of playing becomes attuned to silence and to the softer sounds of the world usually missed while making music.

After 4 minutes and 33 seconds the orchestra then moves off stage without playing a note.

I enjoyed the section on meditating on the way of nature to use and reuse everything.

Organic Prayer also talks about using one’s own garden as a series of prayer stations: the step outside the back door as a launch pad for thanking Creator God for the beauty beheld; marvelling at the diversity of Creator God through a flowerbed; yielding one’s grievances and sorrows to God at the compost heap; delighting in the reality of resurrection at a newly sprouted seed and, seated, simply resting in God’s presence.

Organic Prayer may appeal to people who are longing to pause and simply to be at one with God in creation.

Reviewed by Lesley May Holt, a rural minister in Crows Nest