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Archive for the ‘Nature/Creation’ Category

I saw it, knew it was happening for real, just last week as I was driving home in the early evening.

Summer is fading.

Of course it has been fading since it’s first day in June, but now it is not just the lessening of evening light, but also how the leaves on the trees are looking tired, spent of their life … the sky looks like it’s deep summer blue is fading in the sun … the summer flowers slowing in their budding.

My heart feels heavy as I see these annual changes, heralding the end of summer, the beginning of autumn. I do so love autumn, with it’s cool nights and warm days, it’s colored trees and harvest moon. I love the celebrations in our family of birthdays and anniversaries. I love the renewal of schedules, the opportunities of re-starts and the new experiences to come for those I love.

Yet … my heart feels heavy …

It’s the light, the reduction of light that makes me feel the seasons change … just like I feel them (in a more positive ‘light’) when winter is being traded for spring and the light is increasing, winning the hearts of all who it touches. This is the reality when one is solar powered … and aren’t we all solar powered?

“Let there be light”

The first words of God that are recorded, give us insight into the importance of light, as it was also the first thing God created.

This light is not just the light of the skies, but also the light of the Holy Spirit, living within us. When we say yes to Christ, God gives the command to “let there be light” in our sin-darkened souls, and we illuminate his light to the world.

That is not a light that dims … no matter the season.

“May it be a light to you in dark places,
when all other lights go out.” 
 J.R.R. Tolkien

“The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:5

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I caught a glimpse of Mt. Baker the other day, as I was driving. Actually it was pretty hard to miss, as it seemed so grand, so close.

Mt. Baker is my ever changing constant on my drive to work, my walk around my neighbourhood, any place that takes me East or South of where I live. Depending on the weather, the season, the cloud cover or so many other variables, it is never the same, from one day to the next.

Yet it is always there, even when my view is obstructed. It is an ever-changing constant.

Ever-changing constant …

a bit like an oxymoron, yet that is what describes Baker, it is also what describes the world we live in, from ecosystems to world events to the very breathing of every living thing.

We, as humans have been tasked with the job of caring for our world and everything in it. That is an enormous task … one that we have frequently failed miserably at achieving.

As I walked down a new trail with the Wonderdog yesterday, I was profoundly struck with thankfulness for all that was around me. The trees bending with the breeze, and shading my path. The flowers and plants that add color, variety. Speaking of colors, the shades and varieties of the color green in the leaves of the trees, shrubs, the grass and smaller plants was amazing. Then we paused as I heard water running through a brook beyond my sight. The feel of breeze on my damp brow. The clear blue sky.

So much to be thankful for!

This morning, while enjoying this walk, I thought how I would struggle to be as thankful in January, when the downpours are a constant. The trees would have no leaves, the ground would be saturated soil, the sky grey with low clouds.

Ever-changing constant.

We watch or listen to the news in our little corner, or around the globe. People, creatures our very earth suffering. This is our father’s world … and it can seem as though we are destroying it, destroying each other.

At lunch the other day we sat and heard refuge stories, from a successful young couple who were so young when they fled with their families to a safe place that their stories are constructed, not from what they remember but from what they have been told.

Ever-changing constant.

We are still responsible for our world, and all that is in it. Though, I struggle to see that God ever intended that humans would rule over each other when, in Genesis 1:26:

“God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Sin is constant … but God is constant, as well.

Our world is always changing. Like any living thing, it breaths and grows, increases and decreases, moves and is still. We are to be earth-keepers, protectors. But we and our world’s existence are marred by sin, making perfect function impossible.

But, this world was designed and created by one who knows what it is supposed to look like, function like, without the damage sin brings to people and other living things.

He is still on the throne … but we are not off the hook.

This is my father’s world
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet

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June has arrived with it’s lengthening days and starry nights. Our dark and wintery cocooning patterns altered by the warmth and beauty outdoors. Whether we prepare for summer vacations or days of work with time off spent out of doors, June is a reprieve from the usual, mundane patterns of the everyday.

There seems to be rest, recreation and rediscovery in the very air we breath, in the beauty of the sunsets, in the freshness of new growth all around us.

More frequently as I drive to work I yearn to be driving off into the horizon to somewhere, anywhere … just to be going. Going means moving forward, into new places and sights and adventures that rekindle what the French so beautifully call, joie de vivre … joy of living.

There is anticipation in this lighter, warmer month. There is hope in it’s brightness, in it’s turning the corner from one way of living to another, from one outlook on the days, on life.

I love what Ephesians 5:14 says of the light:

“the light makes everything visible.
This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
 rise up from the dead,
 and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:14

As I read this verse I found it interesting that the arising comes before the light is given …

It is as though we need to first do our part … awake, then Christ will provide the light. We arise in faith that the light, that makes all things visible, will be given to us.

I feel that June (and all the summer months) are that gift of light, that we have been arising in anticipation of, throughout the winter months … and now everything is visible.

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I believe that the most important part of the Creation debate is answered in the first five words of Genesis,

in the beginning, God created

From my understanding of the Bible, one must be able to have confidence that however he did it, in whatever length of time, God created, intelligently and intentionally, our world and all contained within it.

This knowledge or faith in God’s ability to create all is the scaffolding that gives us confidence in God’s oversight of every aspect of our lives.

We can know that he is in control,
even when we do not feel that control.

I recently heard a song, by Duke Ellington and Mahala Jackson, called Come Sunday. When I looked up the lyrics, I found myself to be drawn into the gift of Sunday … the Sabbath.

Now, the Sabbath is not necessarily a day on the calendar, so much as a pause, a reset in the week. It is a time, a day that is different from the other days of the week. It is a day of physical rest, of mental rest, of social rest (for the introverts 😉 ), of spiritual rest. It is a day that is different from the others in a week. A day when we give our weariness to him, rest in his arms.

We often do not realize the rest that comes to us by looking, not at ourselves, but at God.

Through our study of his word, our prayers, our worship and even in our acceptance of downtime, a repose, we are renewed and refreshed by ensuring that our hearts and minds take a break from our working, our endeavours, our creating.

The Creator of our world, and all that is in it, rested … therefore we rest.

Come Sunday
Lord, dear Lord of love, God Almighty, God above,
Please look down and see my people through.

I believe that God put sun and moon up in the sky.
I don’t mind the gray skies ’cause they’re just clouds passing by.

He’ll give peace and comfort to every troubled mind,
Come Sunday, oh come Sunday, that’s the day.

Often we feel weary but he knows our every care.
Go to him in secret, he will hear your every prayer.

Up from dawn till sunset, man works hard all day,
Come Sunday, oh come Sunday, that’s the day.

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One of the things I love about visiting my province of origin is the grandeur of the sky.

There are no mountains to shorten the horizon and an absence of cloud cover to shade the sun from showing how far it reaches. It just seems to go on forever … and I am in constant awe and wonder looking out at it.

Psalm 19:1-6 makes me think of this upward and outward spectacular, great big sky when it speaks of the heavens:

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it  and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race!  The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.”

What a reminder that this great big sky is the craftsmanship of God himself, that the sun was placed there by him. It is, though, verse three that sticks out particularly to me:

Without a sound or word, silent in the skies,
their message reaches out to all the world.

This verse makes me think of the quote, “preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary” (often attributed to St Francis of Assisi). Though I cannot be sure those are the words of St Francis, I do think that he, such a appreciator and steward of God’s creation, as well as one who would have mediated on God’s word, would know and understand this verse from the Psalms, both in word and in deed.

Our message is communicated in our words, but also in how we live our lives.

Elliott’s Commentary on this verse tells us “the communication of the sky is eloquent, but mute; its voice is for the heart and emotion, not the ear.” Our silent worship, through everything from performing our jobs, dealing with cashiers in a store, caring for our earth and all living creatures speaks to the hear and emotion of God and of those around us.

It can be ‘louder’ and more clear than any sermon, any worship service … it is our voiceless testimony of how far we allow God to work in and through us.

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There is no greater sanctuary than to stand on soil, under the firmament, with nothing in view, nothing that one can hear, or smell, touch or taste, but that which God created.

It is there, in the midst of God’s creation that worship has nothing to do with professional, rock star ‘esque musicians and worship leaders … for the creation itself call us, our souls, to worship without hesitation, without hindrance.

Maybe it is the realization of the truth of Psalm 19:1-4:

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”

It is as though something within us is in touch with the created world around us … we do share the same Creator. It is when we are within that which he spoke into place that our innate need to worship bubbles up from within us, and we just have to worship, to praise, to give thanks.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

And if we don’t worship the Creator?

Well, the rest of Creation, from the mountains and hills, to the trees of the field and the birds in the the trees will worship, will cry out the song to the Creator.

“You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:12

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Just last week, while sitting in our living room, chatting with hubby and our oldest daughter, something caught my eye.

A bright light was calling my attention away from those in front of me. As I looked beyond my daughters head to the night sky outside the window I was transfixed to the moon. It seemed so much brighter in it’s fullness, illuminating the clouds the as they quickly passed over it, providing a peek-a-boo experience for my eyes.

I was transfixed, mesmerized by the wonder of it’s brightness, it’s beauty.

“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth”
Joel 1:30

Why, in the prophesies of the coming Messiah, would Joel tell us that God will display wonders in the sky and on the earth? (and the words that follow remind us that they are not all beautiful visions). Why not just say that the saviour is coming and leave it at that?

Maybe it is because we humans are pretty rooted to our earthly lives.

Maybe he knows that it takes some effort to get our attention.

Like the brightness of the moon, that pulled my eyes, my full attention from my earthly loves, God needs to use the extraordinary to get our eyes, our attention, when he is about to do something extraordinary … and the birth of a saviour, a redeemer, the propitiation or the reconciler by his blood, is the most extraordinary of all.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
  In the light of His glory and grace.”

“Taking up her shawl, Mary went to the cave entrance and gasp at the night sky Was it her imagination that one star shone more brightly than all the others? It was like a shaft of light breaking through the floor of heaven and shining down on the City of David. Had not the prophet Joes said the Lord would display wonders in the sky and on the earth when the Saviour came?” (From the book Unafraid: Mary, by Francine Rivers).

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