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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Nature’s revelation

(T. Lucas painting)
Joyce Sasse 

“Awesome”, my five-year-old friend declared with a mixture of mystery and wonder in his voice.

We were standing at the edge of a towering, cone-laden spruce when I asked him to look straight up. Clusters on clusters of cones clung to the top branches! Seen from our angle it was as if we were looking through a gigantic kaleidoscope at one of the delights of nature.

For both of us this was another chapter in fostering a religious experience. How many years ago did Thomas Aquinas talk about revelation coming in two volumes: from the Bible and from Nature. God is expressed both through the Word, and through plants, trees, animals, soil ...

On this perfect autumn day we understood something of the original blessing that gave depth and purpose to our lives. The scene was branded in our memory.

But we were not so naïve as to believe such pastoral scenes are all there is. What happens when we are confronted with over-whelming powers like wind, water, fire – that cause havoc and destruction?

Here Aquinas talked about those times when humanity treated creation in an unjust way. Creation has its own intense way of responding with forces we cannot imagine. In the face of such power, we feel intimidated and afraid. It is reminiscent of the crucifixion.

The glimmer of hope comes with watching how nature carries on in spite of the insults it must bear.

Summer follows winter. The flood devastation eventually grows over. The fire releases new life forces.

As we observe these living, breathing revelations, our spirits are given new life, new hope. We are able to experience the dynamic Spirit of God alive in the world around us.

“O Lord, our God, how magnificent is thy name in all the earth.”

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