When I was 16 years old, my mother took me on a trip from Chicago to California by Greyhound bus. I remember the scenes changed dramatically as we headed further and further west. Until then, I was rarely overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of the earth. Occasionally Lake Michigan and the Chicago shoreline at dusk or in the midst of a tremendous thunder storm could move me. But I realized on that trip that the green lush corn and soy bean fields of home spreading out in every direction as far as the eye could see comforted me – open and unimpeded. The Rocky Mountains forming a ragged looming horizon replaced the flat plains and made me feel small and powerless. Towering natural bridges, orange odd-shaped hoodoos, and the canyons carved out by rivers and glaciers in Utah left me speechless.
Since then, I have traveled to many places around the world: the Alps in Switzerland, the islands of Greece, the vineyards of northern Italy, the arid county side of China, the dense forests of the Amazon River in Brazil. These places speak to my heart. Although I have stood in awe and wonder, there have also been times I felt fear and vulnerability in the wild places of the earth.
We earthdwellers, share the wonder, grandeur, inspiration of our home. We take photographs, paint pictures, write poetry, compose music, and tell stories about our experiences with the creation around us. But if you are like me, you find that the photos and paintings never quite capture the scene, the words and music stir something familiar in us but leave us unsatisfied or wanting more. Even the retelling of our adventures doesn’t give the listener the same thrill we experienced living them. I can’t help thinking that the force that created the world around us wants to communicate to us our own significance and insignificance – the gift and the responsibility.
The Bible says that there are things clearly communicated about God in the world around us all. It states His characteristics are obvious and undeniable. They declare His power, His sovereignty, His authority, His creativity and order. Many deny that there is a God behind creation, but they scramble to make sense of all that is around them. The natural laws that God put in motion defy their alternative origins. Nevertheless, the word of God states that if man does not acknowledge the hand of God in the world around him, that nature itself will cry out in praise. I have heard its cry. Have you?
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber; and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Psalm 19:1-6)
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40)
1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women, old men and children.