The Rev. Pam Morrison, addiction recovery minister, The Healing House, Kansas City:
To describe one way that I feel close to God through nature is too limiting.
One of my favorite songs is the “Canticle of the Sun.” It points at the problem of choosing. The lyrics include, “The heavens are telling the glory of God and all creation is shouting for joy!” This is based on Psalm 19’s declaration of the glory of God throughout nature.
I could speak of so many ways in which my heart is drawn to God by all sorts of settings. But let me choose two.
One moment in which I feel especially close to God is in the mornings when the sun is just rising and there is still a quiet calm that’s only broken by bird calls. I like to sit in my backyard, which looks out over a farm, and feel both the morning chill and the slowly increasing warmth of the sun. The greenness of grass and trees, signs of the awakening spring, fill me with hope and anticipation.
Again, a scripture comes to mind: Psalm 57:8: “Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.”
The second setting in which I feel especially close to God is at night, looking up at the stars.
There is a verse in Isaiah that describes God having a name for every star (Isaiah 40:26). I also think of the ancient figure Abraham and how he stood under the stars and heard God’s plan and promises for his life, that “he would have more descendants than stars in the sky” (Genesis 15:5), though based on natural circumstances, Abraham’s age and childlessness, such a miracle would seem absurd. Yet, Abraham did have children. The stars give me a sense of God’s tremendous care for each of us.
— Send email to Pam Morrison at email@example.com.
The Rev. Nate Rovenstine, pastor, Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway:
When I posted this question to my Facebook friends, I received a variety of interesting responses. The responses included: running, walking, pulling weeds, gardening, oceans, mountains, snow, seasons, stars, mist, rivers, lakes, forests.
One said, “The sublime fear and awe of a mountain top in a light snowstorm — coupled with the excitement and exhilaration of skiing!”
Personally, I love the mountains. Once, when my girls were very young, we went on a hike to an amazing mountain lake. I’ll never forget standing there absorbing God’s creative powers, relishing the determination of my little girls to make the arduous hike, and wondering how anyone could not sense God’s presence in that place.
Like many of my Facebook friends, the connection between God and nature seems obvious to me. God is the creator, and his creation is awe-inspiring. When we take time to be “awed,” we are reminded of God’s power and intimacy.
We need to spend more time in nature so we can connect with God. We also have a stewardship responsibility to take care of his amazing handiwork.
The Bible speaks of Jesus’ involvement in creation. “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Jesus was not only involved in creation, but he has made it possible for us to be in a relationship with God. Because of Jesus, I can worship God in nature, and I am made right with him. I am very grateful that God is our creator.
I am equally grateful that Jesus is our redeemer.
— Send email to Nate Rovenstine at firstname.lastname@example.org.