For the Beauty of the Earth
"The Creator God has spread out for our delight a banquet … of rivers and lakes, of rain and sunshine, of rich earth and of amazing flowers, of handsome trees and of dancing fishes, of contemplative animals and of whistling winds, of dry and wet seasons, of cold and hot climates … and so are we, blessings ourselves, invited to the banquet." Matthew Fox
Late July of 1999 found the Suhring family on a camping trip in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We had run out of synonyms for "WOW!" during the first ten minutes of the trip, so on day #3, when the terrain turned to high desert in the western part of the state, we were left with our mouths hanging open like the band of lily-livered flatlanders that we were.
We were to camp that night on Colorado National Monument, a high windy mesa covered with pinyon pines. To get there, we had to drive from the tiny town of Fruita to the top of the mesa 2000 feet above us. Even the children grew silent in the backseat as our rented Taurus struggled up the narrow and winding sliver of road. On the left were perpendicular cliffs reaching to the sky; on the right was a sheer, 1000-foot drop to the valley floor below.
I was terrified. I was terrified of falling right off the face of the mountain, yes, but I was also terrified of the BIGness of everything there, of the unnerving magnificence of it all. For the first time in my life, I understood that scene in Exodus when God warns Moses, "you cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live." (33:20)
Many people, myself included, see God’s hand (if not God’s face) in a peculiarly vivid way in the midst of the created world. Whether it’s the magnificent peaks of the Rockies or the tiny, perfect veins in an iris petal, God’s creation takes our breath away.
Spring has come to our particular neck of the woods, and it’s a great time for getting back outside. I’ve gathered some resources on the natural world from around the web that you might find interesting or even inspirational. But don’t spend too much time online. Go outside and be amazed at what God has done! And remember: WOW! is a perfectly complete prayer.
Click on the bold headings in each entry to go directly to the link.
Earth Care Congregations Try this site for information about what Presbyterians are doing to care for the earth. You can learn what a congregation has to do to become an Earth Care Congregation and read stories about what other churches are doing to become greener places.
Prayers for Earth Day These prayers are lovely for Earth Day, or any other day that you feel gratitude for God's creation.
Great live Osprey Nest cam from Kent Island, MD. What must it be like to incubate your eggs in a huge nest made of sticks high above the Chesapeake Bay? Watch this live web cam to see! And if you REALLY like watching animals up close and personal, take your pick of these other live cams from around the world.
21 Great Ways Grandparents and Grandfriends Can Connect Kids to Nature. Grandparents, do you love birdwatching or gardening or star gazing? Here’s an article about how you can introduce your grandchildren to the world of nature. Parents, these ideas would work equally well for you.
Nature Coloring Books. Did you know that several museums and libraries have made free downloadable coloring books out of some of their collections? Neither did I! This one is from The Biodiversity Heritage Library and offers beautiful plants and animals to color.