The lockdown has us all longing to escape the confines of our homes. We need some fresh air. We need to walk in the wild. We need our eyes to feast on flowers and green leaves and grass. Among those of us who follow the Master, there should be a heightened desire to bathe our souls in nature rather than this everlasting masking and washing our hands in toxic cleansers.
I want to begin a series of blogs on why I believe every Christian should be a naturalist. I don’t mean that in the technical sense that we should all be environmentalists. I don’t expect every Christian to be a hiker or camper or even a gardener. I certainly don’t mean this in the sense that new-agers mean it, that we should all worship “mother nature”.
But we should all appreciate nature because of our LOVE FOR THE ONE WHO CREATED IT. Don’t you love the rather squiggly slashes of colour when your child or grandchild brings you one of their paintings to admire? Why? Because we love the child who painted it. Well, nature is God’s art.
Do we appreciate Michelangelo’s art? Art tells you about the artist. If we visit the Sistine Chapel in Rome and gaze at the ceiling with its astounding paintings, we will ponder how Michelangelo could possibly have painted those while lying on his back on a scaffold. Surely, we must come away with, maybe not love for him, but an enormous appreciation for the artist. When consider;
This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.
Do we love God? Well consider his artistry. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God saw all that he had made [during the six days of creation] and it was very good” (Gen. 1:1,31). If we go outside in the evening and gaze at the sun setting or the moon rising. If we wonder through the woods and see trilliums and violets carpeting the ground. If we gaze into the sky and watch V’s of Canada Geese flying north. Or if we even ponder the mystery of how our fingers work. If we really look beyond what we have come to take for granted and see God, our mouths must open in awe and our hearts expand with love.
Do you not know God as Father? Then you can’t really appreciate the glory and purposes of the created world. Read and believe the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, and then gaze at the natural world around. As I found out when I was converted at 19, you too will discover through God’s Son by the power of the transforming Holy Spirit that:
Heaven above is softer blue Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow
Flowers with deeper beauties shine.
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.
(Loved with Everlasting Love, George Wade Robinson)
How do we feel as we watch the sun set or as we see the moon rise? “Oh, that’s really lovely.” How do we feel when we gaze on trilliums carpeting a woodland? “That’s beautiful.”
The Psalmist felt something deeper when he saw mountain peaks, oceans—indeed, everything. “The LORD is the great God…In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker, for he is our God” (Psalm 95:3-6). So moved was the Psalmist that he began the Psalm by saying, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1).
Every Christian should be a naturalist because first of all, we love for the one who created it. Secondly, and similar to that reason, we should be genuine, biblical naturalists because NATURE MOVES US TO WORSHIP.
John Muir founded the Sierra Club, a powerful force for ecological responsibility. Once when Muir was standing with a friend at a high point of the Yosemite Valley tears began to course down his cheeks. His friend was one of those rather unemotional types. Muir turned to him and in the Scotch dialect into which he often lapsed when filled with wonder said; “Mon, can ye see unmoved the glory of the Almighty?”
“Oh, it’s very fine,” came the reply “but I do not wear my heart upon my sleeve.”
“Ah, my dear mon,’ Muir replied, ‘in the face of such a scene as this, it’s no time to be thinkin o where you wear your heart.” (Sierra, March/April 1989, p23)
Even if we, like Muir’s friend, are unemotional types surely when we gaze at our wonderful world, or the mystery of a new-born baby, or the weather cycles we should at least shout in our hearts about the creative majesty of God! His power! His wisdom! His goodness and beauty for all that is good and beautiful in our world reflects the creativity of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen and amen.
(Let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you appreciate this blog, please pass it on. Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright ––)
[i] This Is My Father’s World, text by Maltbie D. Babcock, music by Franklin L. Sheppard