“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” Psalm 24:1
“All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” John 1:3
“Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Poets, songwriters, and ordinary people appreciate the beauty of God’s world. The familiar hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth” expresses our feelings well. In 1864, Folliot S. Pierpoint wrote the words to the hymn at age 29.
Many of us look forward to summer travel where we seek God’s beauty and wonder across the United States and throughout the world. Viewing God’s world from a fresh perspective can be beneficial and renewing. My husband and I recently traveled to the Pacific Northwest. The Portland Rose Gardens and Butchart Gardens visits prompted us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a. A fellow rose lover enthusiastically urged us to smell a rose that he had just discovered. At the Sunken Gardens at Butchart Gardens, a “congregation” of viewers stood in awe and wonder.
Even when we experience a “staycation,” we can become aware of the natural beauty and wildlife in our neighborhood. I have been surprised at the wildlife present around our new townhouse – a mostly tree-less area. This spring, I enjoyed watching a baby purple or house finch on our deck. It’s parent, ready to protect its offspring, hovered nearby. A robin’s nest and baby robin learning to fly were observed under the deck. A parent robin loudly screeched to distract us away from its baby. I also observed a plover teaching its baby survival skills. These birds have learned how to adapt to a changing world. Perhaps this can be a lesson for us humans.
If we are open to the wonders of God’s world, we can discover them all around us. As a pre-school teacher, I gave each child a one-yard piece of string. Outside, in the grass, each child formed a circle with their string. Focusing on the space inside the circle, we were surprised to observe what was present – insects, a small pebble or rock, and growing plants. God provides us with treasures daily. Do we see them?
Prayer: God, we thank you for the beauty that surrounds us in your world. Remind us to be open to all you provide us each day. Amen.
Lois Poppe (reprinted from 2012)