Aug 10 2011

To The Glory of God

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it…” Psalm 24:1

After posting my blog, “Spirituality and Beauty,” this past Sunday I got an e-mail from my good friend, Kenny Faught, who in response to what I had written shared a wonderful story.  He wrote: “The post today reminded me of when I was a pastor in Cumberland, KY.  An older pastor was with us for the week holding a revival meeting.  One day we were walking a trail at Kingdom Come State Park when I realized he had ‘fallen behind’.  I did an about-face and walked back to him.  He was cradling a tiny flower in his hands, and asked, ‘Do you know why this tiny flower blooms way out here where it will likely never be seen?  To the glory of God!’”

This “older pastor” realized something that many of us tend to forget.  It’s not all about us.  We tend to judge the worth or value—and even beauty—of things by how they affect us.  If we benefit from the object or find it pleasing we give it value.  If we do not find or see a personal benefit, or do not find it pleasing, we do not consider the object to be of much value or worth. 

When Rob and I were photographing in Redwood National Park a couple of months ago we walked a trail in the Lost Creek area.  Along the trail there were lots of wildflowers.  I suspect most people would have considered the columbine we saw to be quite beautiful.  On the same trail we also saw several banana slugs.  Here my suspicion is that most people would not have considered this creature beautiful and might even call it “disgusting.”  Why?  Both are creations of God.  Both have their place in the natural world. 

Perhaps it is just part of being human that we judge everything from our own particular position.  As Christians, however, we must recognize that the world should be viewed from God’s perspective.  A lot of folks today need to experience a new “Copernican Revolution.”  Copernicus turned the world upside down when he discovered that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around.  I think it would turn our world upside down today as well if more of us could come to realize that the world does not revolve around us.  The “older pastor” was right; the world exists for “the glory of God!”

I encourage you to give some thought to how you might view things differently if you sought to look at the world through God’s eyes rather than your own.  I also encourage you to consider how this might affect how you treat the earth and its resources.  If the earth truly is the Lord’s, as the Psalmist indicated, and it exists for His glory, I cannot help but believe that it will, indeed, make a difference in how we see and treat Creation.

–Chuck

(I photographed the columbine and banana slug in June on the trail described above.)

 


Jan 12 2011

“Admiration… So Necessary”

elk 3788A few weeks ago a Methodist minister friend of mine, Kenny Faught, sent me a quote he had come across in the writings of  Pope John Paul II.  It reads: “Admiration of creation, admiration of God’s work, is so necessary. Through admiring creation, we admire God; through admiring the visible, we admire the invisible.”  I think there’s a lot to think about here.

To begin with, John Paul II notes that admiring Creation is “so necessary.”  These are strong words.  He didn’t say admiring God’s work was useful or recommended; he said it was necessary.  Paying attention to God’s Creation is something we must do if we want to be in tune with the Creator of the world.  Admiring His handiwork is essential to our spiritual well-being.  Unfortunately, many people do not see the connection that John Paul II alludes to.  They fail to understand how living in awareness of our environment is critical to our spiritual life.

If you go back and reread John Paul’s words you’ll notice that he uses the word “admire” or its derivatives six times in these two short sentences.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines “admire” as “to regard with wonder, pleasure, and approval.  To have a high opinion of; to esteem or respect.”  As Christians we really should regard Creation with wonder, pleasure and approval.  The world God has made is literally full of wonder.  It is, indeed, a storehouse of pleasure.  And just as God paused at the conclusion each day of Creation to affirm its goodness, we can and should offer our approval as well.

cardinal 969Knowing that the world we live in was made by God we should have a very high opinion of it.  We should hold it in esteem and treat it with great respect.  If we don’t we won’t take the time to experience God in what He has made nor will we do what we’re supposed to when it comes to being good stewards of Creation.

In the second sentence Pope John Paul II directly links admiring Creation with admiring God.  He certainly was not indicating that they are one and the same, but he  realized that in many ways they are inseparable.  When we admire and take delight in Creation we are showing our admiration and delight in the Creator.   And when he points out that “through admiring the visible, we admire the invisible” we are reminded that the God whom we cannot see with our physical eyes has graciously made it possible for us to behold a portion of His glory with our eyes in His Creation.  For this reason, and many others, I concur with John Paul that admiration of God’s Creation is “so necessary.”

–Chuck

(The elk and cardinal images were made this past week here in Pikeville, Kentucky.)