On a Nature High

IMG_2960

I’m writing from my backyard, enjoying the warmth of the afternoon. I so love the sun. It feels like every day since I’ve been home I find myself exulting in the weather. It is so beautiful! How can the sky be so blue? How can the flowers be so richly colourful and the greens of trees, grass and plants so vibrant?  Then there is the persistent kiss of sun on skin. How glorious! Simply being outside I feel it embrace me, like a lover who missed me dearly  and is bursting with exuberance to see me again. I take great pleasure in being able to walk outside in shorts and a tank top, to leave the house in a sundress and sandals. What luxury, to sit on my grandmother’s porch, run on the beach, drive with the windows down. I love being warm. I love being warm.

I surprise myself a little with the depth of my enthusiasm for the climate and the flora, though I remember even as a girl I marvelled at the environment and took advantage of opportunities to be outside. Perhaps now that I’ve lived away for extended periods, and in much colder parts of the world, I have a better sense for how much I appreciate the easy pleasures of these islands. What bliss, to wander the yard barefoot! To look up and see a vast expanse of crisp, clear sky! It is a tonic for my of-late weary soul, a shot of energy and thankfulness more swift and sure than any caffeinated drink or online article. I look outside my window, I step out the front door, and I feel reborn.

A Meditation On My Maker

img_1483

A couple of days ago I listened to a sermon on God as maker of heaven and earth. It reminded me of how big he is, how unfathomably big he must be to have created our whole earth, and galaxy, and universe, and to live above and beyond it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I thought about the intricacies of the human body, the lives of ants and spiders, and the microscopic chemistry that keeps the whole earth – human and animal lives and the natural environment – humming. It’s incredible. Our world is made of things simultaneously greater and smaller than we can see and whose scale we can barely imagine. How is it that a being can create something as massive as our universe, and as tiny as protozoa? Dextrous though they can be, some work renders human fingers bumbling and clumsy, forcing the use of other tools. Psalm 8 – which the sermon was based on – describes God as working with his fingers. There is nothing too delicate for him; he made it all.

My life – human life – lies somewhere on the line of creation; bigger than plankton and insects but smaller than planets and galaxies. Everything I see (Tim Keller reminded me), points to God and can tell me something about Him. The heavens declare the glory of God  – how breathtaking are sunsets and natural landscapes – and so do the tiniest parts of life, like a spider’s web and fractals in leaves and coral. After a visit to the Met museum with my mum last week, she remarked on the fact that we saw countless art objects, each one unique and made by a person with esteemed artistry and skill, but every person made by God. There are people who are going to make more wonderful and amazing things who haven’t even been born yet! And our God is master over all.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what this means, and what it tells me about God. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it for the rest of my life. I feel at a loss for the words even to write this post. All the same, I find it so exciting to consider. On top of his other attributes, God is infinitely brilliant, the ultimate artist, and his work tells us about him in much the same way that human artists’ work tell us something about them. I will never know everything there is to know about him, even from the perspective of this physical world. Thus, I can never tire of learning about him.

Furthermore, this magnificent God, whose being and nature I can scarcely grasp, cares for me. Thinking of his grandeur in comparison to my own fleeting life makes everything I deal with, both positive and negative, seem insignificant. Yet it matters to God, and he wants a relationship with me. Not just me, all of us. He is everywhere and sees and hears everything. How is that even possible, if he is so big the universe can’t contain him? More questions.

At the heart of it all though, love. God made our beautiful home: sights that never fail to bring joy, sounds that move us to tears, smells and feelings that bring us comfort and security, both out of his love for us and to point us toward himself, who is even greater than the things we experience here. I want to continue seeking him in everything I  encounter in his creation. I am awed by his majesty, and thankful for his love.

Psalm 8 (ESV)
Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!