Engaging God with All Our Senses
V. J. Berry
Copyright 2012 by V. J. Berry
The Scriptures tell us about God and we can get a head and heart knowledge of Him in a somewhat single dimension, but we know that God is more than that because His fundamental nature is a mystery beyond our full understanding, and it requires us to go beyond reading about Him to truly know Him by using all our five senses. Church services often include the experience of all our senses in symbolism and rites to bring us into a worshipful state of mind. In many churches, when a person enters, they see inspirational stained-glass windows; the Word of God is heard both in sermons and songs praising God. People touch each other in greetings, their Bibles, their hymnals. The faint scent of incense wafting from the censer can be detected and the taste of bread and wine from the communion lingers – all reminders of Jesus Christ, of the Father, of the Holy Spirit. When entering into the state of the senses to be with God invite Him in and throw out your ego. To love God completely, we need to submit completely, worship Him with all your senses and your mindset should be adjusted toward a relationship with Him. “Loving God is an act of the will that must engage the whole person” (K. Boa, 2001).
”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with your entire mind and with all your strength” Mark 12:30 NIV).
We should think of God as someone we can walk and talk with on a daily basis, not as some far-off aloof deity. I cannot count the times I have heard someone say that they feel close to God when they spend time walking in a park or other wooded area where they could meditate and take a leisurely nature walk. A friend who mentors women at her church uses a nature walk in her ministry. She took me on one of her walks to demonstrate how calming and meditative the walk could be using all five senses in worshiping God.
At the head of the trail, she told me that conversation would be kept to a bare minimum and we said a simple prayer asking God to instill the mindset that we wanted to have a relationship with Him and that we were submitting ourselves to His will, and we were willing to worship Him with our entire range of senses. I recommend that you concentrate on one sense at a time for a better and more memorable experience. How you choose the order of your senses (see, hear, touch, smell, and taste) is up to you.
For example, let’s say you are taking this walk and will be concentrating on sight as your first sense. Look around you; what do you see? Really see? Is it the shape of leaves, insects, birds in flight, a creek, colors of nature, the sky and the clouds? They are all parts of God’s creation we look past every day in our busy lives and all which have a purpose for being. Stop along the walk, close your eyes. What do you hear? Do you hear bird songs, the hum of cicadas, the chirp of crickets, the wind rustling through the leaves, water trickling over rocks, the voice of God? What are you stopping to touch? Is it the texture of bark, the smoothness of a river rock, a pretty wildflower, the wind touching your skin, the hand of God? As you continue your walk with God, what do you smell? It is the earthy fragrance of loamy soil and the scent of wildflowers blending for natural incense? God gave directions to Moses in Exodus 30 on how to make incense especially for Him. And God likes the aroma of Christ in Christians (2 Cor. 2: 15-16) As for taste, it could be the sweet taste of life for the experience of walking with God or the actual taste of something you may find on your walk such as berries. I would like to think it was both. At trail’s end, it would be nice to show your appreciation for God’s creations in the natural world with a “thank you prayer.”