How to grow spiritually
Come With Us on Our Spiritual Journey to Find God Around Us
By Doug and Freda Otto
Is life getting to be too much? Are you fed up with sheltering at home and are you longing for a little adventure? Do you need a Spiritual Boost?
Then join us on our SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TO FIND GOD AROUND US
Taking a spiritual journey is fun and easy. You can venture out on your own to one of the Waypoints located in and around the City of Long Beach OR you can follow us as we visit each destination. Each Waypoint has a spiritual theme and a step-by-step guide (CLICK HERE to download) that is interactive, inspirational and designed to help find the spirit of God in the beauty of our surroundings.
Waypoint #1 — Colorado Lagoon, A Place of Consecration
The term “consecration” refers to the act of dedicating oneself to a specific purpose or intention. To “consecrate” yourself means to wholly dedicate yourself to something of greatest importance.
It seemed fitting to us to explore the idea of consecration in a place that is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the fragile and lovely wetlands and coastal environment that defined Long Beach for thousands of years. Finding God in the beauty and serenity of this special place was the focus of our journey today.
Step 1. We travel to our Consecration destination
We set off on an early morning walk from our home on the Peninsula to Colorado Lagoon, a lovely 2.5 mile walk that takes us along Bay Shore Walk and Alamitos Bay, along the length of Marine Stadium and across 4th Street to Colorado Lagoon, a reflection of the backwater tidelands history of the area. We both are awed at the serenity of the site in the early morning stillness. We enter a picturesque place where sea water, nature and animal life converge to welcome visitors like us.
Step 2. We reflect on the purpose of our visit
We admire nature’s beauty and the way the light hits the water as we wander over the footbridge that crosses the lagoon taking us from one side of the protected inlet to the other. We both recall happy memories of visiting the lagoon with our young children and watching them splash in the waveless lagoon waters.
It’s easy to imagine the hot days to come when groups of rowdy children will be jumping off the same footbridge we are crossing now. As we walk, we center our thoughts on our mission of spiritual discovery and we talk together about the focus of our journey today – to understand and appreciate the act of consecration.
I read aloud to Doug the statement from our printed Guide – that the purpose of consecration is to be used by God, to work for God. “What do you imagine that means to us in our lives today?” I ask Doug. “I think of it this way,” he says. “Consecration is a way of applying faith to the here and now. It’s a state of mind that gives our everyday lives meaning and purpose. It’s both a gate and a pathway.” “So when we consecrate ourselves, we enter an agreement with God to travel his path?” I ask. “Yes, and God responds in kind by showing us the way,” he answers. We ponder this thought as we wander on.
Step 3. We read the scripture associated with this station
“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves,
for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’ ” Joshua 3:5
In a quiet spot near the sandy beach, we read this verse from the Old Testament that provides some context for our reflection. The verse in Joshua is both a command and a promise given to the people of Israel who were crossing into Jordan and the Promised Land after 40 years wandering in the wilderness. I ask Doug if there is any meaning for us. After enduring the pandemic that has created a wilderness for people around the world during the last year this passage seems strangely fitting. “I think it’s more relevant now than ever,” Doug states. “I believe God is asking us to rededicate ourselves to his calling as the world begins to reform itself in new ways.” It’s clear to both of us that we will all emerge from this pandemic changed.
Step 4. We tackle the activity
Step number four in our Guide gives us an assignment that is intended to take the ideas we have swirling around in our heads and put them into a personal context. The assignment reminds us that, just as the Colorado Lagoon is a haven of nature in the center of a bustling city, God wants us to be set apart and sanctified for his purpose.
This really touched us both as we walked the paths and trails surrounding the lagoon. We watched the ducks lazily skimming the waters of the lagoon, we felt the quiet and comfort of the brush and blossoms of the natural habitat of our surroundings and the intimate trail that allowed us to share our thoughts with each other as we walked. We were both surprised at how close to God and nature we felt in the lovely lagoon setting.
Step 5. Photos and selfies – to commemorate a spiritual (and fun) experience
One of the fun parts of our journey of consecration was the opportunity to take photos along our way. Photos capture the beauty and intimacy of this special place in our city and we had a great time identifying favorite spots and lovely views from different viewpoints. We thought how much fun it would be to have everyone who embarks on this spiritual journey send in their own photos and share their own thoughts on their experience.
Step 6. Prayer
As we continued to follow the banks of Colorado Lagoon and rounded the length of the waterway, we walked out to the bustle of the street with early morning traffic going by. The last step of our spiritual journey was to end with a prayer. The prayer of consecration written by John Wesley that is in our Guide was a lovely way for us to cap off this personal experience. It talks about pure love and that, in the end, is the essence of consecration. We made our way back home more peaceful, hopeful and mindful of God in the world around us.
“O Spirit of God, warm our hearts with the love of God and of Christ that we might give our best to worship and serve you today and every day.” Amen.
Would you like to know how to grow spiritually? Join us for the next stop on our Spiritual Journey to the Inspiration Waypoint at Hilltop Park in Signal Hill.
Doug and Freda