Beauty All Around Us
by Maria Pia Seirup , Kingswood’s Chaplain
For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies . . . for the beauty of each hour, of the day and of the night, hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light. … Lord of all to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.
Beauty all around us … choose any spot on the grounds of Kingswood Campsite and you will find beauty – if you have eyes to see.
Most of us spend so much time indoors that we might miss the beauty of God’s creation all around us. It is hard to miss at Kingswood: the sound of the chirping of birds, the breeze rustling through the leaves and pines, the pitter patter of the rain . . . the sunlight dancing on the water at the pond, the wildflowers in the meadows, the blue sky with puffy clouds, and twinkling stars at night. Natural beauty abounds at Kingswood.
Did you know that acknowledging the beauty of nature can have a significantly positive impact on our well-being?
Research shows that appreciating beauty can help reduce anxiety and depression as well as reducing inflammation and the risk of many diseases. Not only that, studies have shown that spending time in nature can help reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being. Furthermore, being in nature has been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and even improve sleep.
The experience of awe and wonder can be deeply therapeutic because nature has a way of capturing our attention and drawing us into the present moment. This can help us feel more grounded and centered. Simply by reflecting on the beauty of the natural world, we can find solace and hope in the midst of life’s challenges.
The natural world is a reflection of God’s divine wisdom and love. God knows we need help navigating the challenges of life. It is God’s plan for us to have abundant life here on earth, not just in heaven.
Linda Purcell, a spiritual director, sees embracing beauty as a spiritual discipline. She encourages us to assume that beauty is everywhere just waiting for us to notice it. Allow yourself to feel its effect upon your soul. Then make your actions reflections of the beauty all around you. Beauty is startling, stimulating, and soothing. Try this practice when you need to be pulled out of your habitual way of seeing and being. Its cultivation produces pleasure:
Take a pause in your day, and then breathe in the beauty of the moment, breathe out any tension you may be holding.
The regular, intentional inclusion of beauty into one’s life has the power to transform our way of “seeing” the world. We may begin to see ourselves, each other, and the world as God sees. It follows that we become more compassionate.
Spending time at Kingswood clears the clutter of our everyday routines and provides openings for splendor and refreshment. Kingswood is also rich in opportunities to explore and nurture more intentional spirituality such as Friday evening Vespers, Sunday Morning Worship, and the Labyrinth. Friday morning sewing and Stone Ministry can be intentional spiritual practices as well.
I am looking forward to serving as Kingswood’s Spiritual Director this summer. I’ve chosen Wonder to be our spiritual theme for Friday night vespers and Sunday morning worship. We’ll be exploring the wonder-filled beauty in and around us through music, scripture, readings, art and prayer.
If you would like an introduction to the Labyrinth as a spiritual practice, please contact me. I am also available to share time with campers who may be seeking spiritual guidance. You may find me in the Barn on Friday mornings or try texting me at 203-470-1337 (no guarantees the text will go through though).
Blessings to you,
Rev. Maria-Pia M. Seirup graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2015 and was ordained as a United Methodist Deacon in 2021. Over the past 16 years, Pastor Maria-Pia served at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield, Connecticut in various positions, including Children’s Ministry Director, Associate Pastor, and Director of Pastoral Care. She also served several summers as Chaplain to the youth campers at Woodsmoke. In the spring of 2020, Rev. Maria Pia founded PeaceWork, Inc., a fledgling ministry seeking to stitch together peace through compassionate service grounded in contemplative prayer. You may contact her at
P.S. my name often confuses people. Maria-Pia is my first name. I prefer to be called Maria-Pia or “MP” rather than Maria. — My husband Peter, the Stone Ministry creator, and I share the same last name, Seirup, pronounced “sigh-rup”]