Bidden or unbidden, God is present...Carl Jung
A walk in the prairie always gets me thinking, which is why at Prairie Pond Woods an evening stroll is a top priority. Around 8:00 pm, I check to see whether conditions are right for a good sunset. If the colors and clouds look promising, I’ll take a quick walk on the Refresher Course, just to see what new displays may have emerged, and end up back on the Adirondacks for the evening's grand finale.' Otherwise, I’ll take my time and just meander through the grasses, flowers and cedars, through the woods, and then end at the noisy pond around dusk, all the while letting my mind putter inside my head.
On such a walk the other evening, I thought about this wonderful creation and how much nature is like God (it can’t help be because it is one of God’s expressions) and the many facets we can learn about our Creator through it. Just like the presence of God, nature is all around us but, sadly, most people do not know or understand the very things God has chosen to sustain us in this world. Many of us are unaware of how the natural world regulates our earth’s temperature, provides us with oxygen and other necessary elements, nurtures us with food, and feeds our soul with beauty.
What is this “world” that God so loved he sent Jesus to die for? The Greek word Kosmos means an “orderly arrangement or decoration.” Could it include not only its human inhabitants, but also the soil, sky, water, plants and other animals arranged on it and “decorated” by it? I believe Jesus died for the cosmos, the entire creation, because it is his loving handiwork and he desires to redeem it.
If this is true, perhaps we should pay a bit more attention to the world we live in. We may drive down the road and see “green” on either side, or even take a walk in a park, but not really know what it is that surrounds us; the names of plants or animals, their behaviors and timetables, their fascinating intricacies. And just as with nature, we can have a superficial knowledge and understanding of God, never experiencing the fascinating intimacies God wants to have with us.
The more I learn about nature the more connected I feel to the physical world. Craig sometimes asks me how I can stand always being “tuned in” to the birdsongs all the time. But I find that it actually comforts me to know what it is I see, hear and smell; like being in a room of people whom I’ve already met and whose names I now know. I begin to see the big picture of not only the human community I am part of but also the one made of flora and fauna. I affect it and it affects me.
The same is true in our connection to the world of the spirit. When we spend time with God, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, the more we begin to hear and see spiritual things and recognize sacred moments in our everyday lives. When we stop our routines and allow ourselves time to meditate...on the life of Jesus, on the shortness of our days, on the desires in our souls, or the beauty of a zinnia bud ready to burst open...we are changed.
This connection is possible at any moment and God is always waiting for us to exercise awareness that the Holy Spirit is present. So, I extend a challenge to you for your week. Each evening around 8:30, step outside, by yourself or with someone you love, and watch the sunset. Give God glory for the deep breaths you take in and the Light filtering through the clouds that warms your skin.
Know that God is there…along with all Creation...waiting to be understood.