May 4 2011

Echoes and Sign Language

One of my favorite inspirational books is Ken Gire’s Windows of the Soul: Experiencing God in New Ways.  I was looking at this book earlier today and came across a passage I had forgotten about that I’d like to share with you.  In a chapter called “Opening the Window” Gire pens the following words:

“Like rain and snow, the word of God permeates the earth.  To say God’s word can be found only in certain places, like the Bible, for example, is to say, in effect, that rain water can be found only in lakes where it is most visible.  But everywhere we look there are traces of His word.  In the circumstances of our lives.  In every nook of humanity and every crannied flower of creation.”

Gire goes on to make an excellent case for looking for God in Creation.  He says, “If God created the world with words that went forth from His mouth, words like ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,’ it follows that the sun and moon and stars are echoes of those words and that something of the divine mind and its purposes can be understood by studying them.  If we look with the right eyes, listen with the right ears, we will understand the natural creation as a form of sign language through which God expresses Himself.”

I like the idea of seeing in the world around me “echoes” of God’s words spoken when He created the universe.  Genesis 1-2 makes it clear that God spoke the world into being.  Those words continue to echo throughout Creation and we have the wonderful privilege of listening to and seeing the result of His spoken word.

I also like Gire’s analogy of God’s revelation through Creation being like “sign language.”  My wife, Bonita, happens to know sign language quite well.  She is a wonderful and gifted interpreter.  Through her hands she can translate what others are saying but in order to receive the message being interpreted one must know sign language.  I confess that I do not know sign language but if I took the time to study it I could learn to listen to what Bonita is saying with her hands and motions.

When it comes to interpreting God’s “sign language” in Creation we must also study the language and become familiar with the signs.  The Bible will help us do this but it will also be necessary to study natural history books and field guides.  We will have to work hard to develop our observational skills and spiritual sensitivities.  That may sound like a lot of trouble but when the end result is the ability to experience God more fully I cannot help but believe that the effort will be well worth it.

–Chuck

(The two images above were taken last spring while visiting Joshua Tree National Park with my blogging partner and friend, Rob Sheppard.)