Throughout history, many people have found a sense of God’s presence when they look upon the beauty of nature. It is something that can evoke profound emotions and some find it easier to connect with and praise God out in nature than they do in church.
There are various Psalms that praise God as creator and it is not unlikely that the writer would have been either looking at or thinking about the wonders of the world around them at the time. For example, Psalm 8 looks out at the vastness of the skies and the stars in space, whilst Psalm 148 calls upon all of creation to point to their creator in praise.
In the book of Romans, Paul says that creation reveals something of God’s character and power if only we have eyes to see it. God’s fingerprints, so to speak, are all over what God has made.
Some Celtic Christians found certain beauty spots to be so conducive to praise and meeting with God that they labelled them “thin places” – where the boundary between earth and heaven seems “thinner” than elsewhere.
The prayer in the image above is in German and it is placed at a point where people can look out over the Bodensee (lake of Constance). It is a prayer that has sprung out of someone’s heart in response to the beauty of that lake. They recognised God as the One who not only made it, but who also sustains it.
Is this a tradition of Christian spirituality that you relate to? When was the last time you felt close to God through nature?
Perhaps at times we are so busy driving or walking to where we want to go that we don’t take in what is all around us. Over the next few days, why not take just a few minutes to sit and take in something of God’s creation? Perhaps watch a sunset or look closely at some flowers. Maybe you will find that your soul will also sing “how great Thou art” along with the hymn-writer (Stuart Hine) as you gaze upon what God has made.
© Joe Lenton, August 2013
Image © Original Art Photography By Joe Lenton 2013 – www.originalartphotography.co.uk