A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Thursday, July 02, 2020
God's Glory Bursts Forth!
from Rev. Tom Snyder, Pastor Emeritus and Visitation Pastor, First and Christ United Methodist Churches, Ashland, Ohio.
The picture above is my view each morning at breakfast. We eat meals in our sunroom, and Kitty and I each have a different view of her perennial garden from where we sit. I see our angel sculpture surrounded by delphiniums, bellflowers, impatiens, dianthus, coral bells, columbine, ivy geraniums, and a flower with the wonderful whimsical name-- angel face. Being anchored in such beauty is not a bad way to start the day.
I confess that I do not always pay close enough attention to natural beauty, or value nature as an expression of God's presence. Like many Western Christians, I easily fall into the trap of seeking God in books, ideas, concepts, and propositions. While I need God to be in my head and understanding, I also need the divine presence in personal devotion, silence, worship, and prayer, balancing the heart as well. I need to recall how many images from nature that Jesus used to reveal the realm of God, adorned with the lilies of the field.
Being a visual person, I also experience God in beauty, but again it is frequently humanly created-- art, music, poetry, words, and images. I know there is more. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century Transcendentalist, exclaimed: "Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere." If God is bursting forth in the natural world, then that presence needs to be part of my spiritual awareness, too.
Rabindrath Tagore, the great Hindu mystic, poet, writer, and musician lamented, "For many years, at great cost, I traveled through many countries, saw the high mountains, the oceans. The only thing I did not see were the sparkling dewdrops in the grass outside my door." The proximity of the Divine is often lost on us. In a culture that is always on the make, seeking more, acquiring, and controlling, our continual reaching and grasping, anesthetizing us to the Holy where we are, leaves us spiritually bereft.
It takes time; it takes awareness; it takes savoring. The magnolia tree by our garage is blooming with the sweetest fragrance; the potted geraniums are blazing crimson; the bird's nest nestled near our porch ceiling is alive with demanding new life; the hostas are about to bloom. It is all beautiful, and it is all here to remind me that whatever my level of awareness, the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere, even in the sparkling dewdrops in the grass outside my door.
Faithfully, in love, Pastor Tom+