What a glorious morning here at Beggars Tomb! The sky is an impeccable shade of blue without any clouds. The Birds are singing and the world is waking up to another gift from the creator. The smell of wisteria is still heavy in the air as I sit here sipping on my cup of Earl Grey. This is a welcome change from the rainy, and cloudy days we have been seeing lately. Yesterday morning I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go with the Unity Club to view the flower gardens of one of the member’s daughter. I must say it exceeded any and all expectations I may have had leading up to it. It was such a great day and the weather even cooperated! Words can begin to describe the sheer and abject beauty of these gardens and I am sad that more people do not have an opportunity to view them. One thing I found quite intriguing and special about the garden was all of the flowers and plants that grew there had a special significance to the family and was able to be traced out to family members and friends through the years. The term that was given to them was “historic” flowers. One thought I kept having while walking around there was that, “I wish I had this at my house.” I hear and see that a lot in our lives and we are all guilty of waning what we see that others have. I wish that my house looked like that or I wish I had fruit trees like that and the list goes on and on but the majority of the time we do not take the time or put the effort into seeing the beauty that we are already blessed with and that God has put all around us. Nature is one aspect that is a tangible lesson that teaches us about the diversity and the omnipotence of God. Repeatedly the Scriptures bring our focus and attention to nature in order to teach us lessons about life and the way that we should live it, for example:
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest” –And your poverty will come in like a vagabond, And your need like an armed man (Proverbs 6:6-11).
Four things are small on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong folk, But they prepare their food in the summer; The badgers are not mighty folk, Yet they make their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks; The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces (Proverbs 30:24-28).
Nature is God’s a perfect representation of the love that God has for each and every one of us and could be considered his picture book, much like the picture books we give to children to teach them even though they cannot yet read the printed word. The pictures, in this case nature, tells the same story the Bible tells with words and gives up a true representation of the perfection of the creation and the unconditional love and harmony that we should strive to achieve in our world today.
As I continue to grow older I begin to realize and understand that things did not just happen as many of us were taught in school. Things are too ordered and for lack of a better work, “perfect” for them all to have crawled out of the primordial soup as the majority of the sciences teach us. Nature is the lesson book that was given to us to supplement the bible as we strive to understand the beauty and power of God. While many times the churches that profess to be so focused on God tend to be nothing but false and their words are not manifest in their actions. The sickness of man is that we have to make sense of everything and can no accept things at face value for what they are. I have never been much for organized religion and in many respects the liturgical aspects of organized religion had pushed me further away from God. Just like with the governments of the world man has tainted and corrupted the church to where many of them no longer server the purpose that they were intended for. The missing element is this equation is that man has forgotten that every day and in every way we rely on the provisions and grace of God in order to survive and the Psalms tell us as much,
Nature is not independent of its Creator. Every day, creation must look to Him for His provisions: The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God. When the sun rises they withdraw, and lie down in their dens. Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all; The earth is full of Thy possessions. There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great. There the ships move along, And Leviathan, which Thou hast formed to sport in it. They all wait for Thee, To give them their food in due season. Thou dost give to them, they gather it up; Thou dost open Thy hand, they are satisfied with good. Thou dost hide Thy face, they are dismayed; Thou dost take away their spirit, they expire, And return to their dust. Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are created; And Thou dost renew the face of the ground (Psalm 104:21-30).
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his classic book Nature, “Nature is the symbol of spirit.” Human beings have always been drawn to the beauty and majesty of nature, but nature invites us to look deeper and gives us the drive and yearning to know God better. It’s as if God is hiding behind every tree, under every rock, over every hill, across every meadow, at the bottom of every lake, in every fluffy cloud, on the wings of every bird, in the eyes of every animal, and whispering to us in the very breeze itself. God is waiting for us to discover the truth that is present in everything. We all seem to be striving for a spiritual oneness that our modern world tires to deny and suppress. Peace Pilgrim, a spiritual missionary who spent the last 28 years of her life walking across the United States for peace, had such a realization of spiritual oneness. This “wonderful mountaintop experience,” as she called it, occurred during an early morning walk. “The important part of it was the realization of the oneness of all creation,” she said. “Not only all human beings— had I known before that all human beings are one. But now I knew also an oneness with the rest of creation. The creatures that walk the earth and the growing things of the earth. The air, the water, the earth itself. And, most wonderful of all, an oneness with that which permeates all and binds all together and gives life to all. An oneness with that which many would call God.” These rare experiences are awakenings to the essence of life and our unity with it and these spiritual communions and moments of worship are the true moments when God appears and makes himself known.