This summer my wife and I have enjoyed the holiday of a lifetime in Canada. Our trip ranged from Toronto to Vancouver, Niagara Falls to the Rocky Mountains. In a couple of weeks we only scratched the surface of that vast country which spans 5 time zones and is the world’s second largest by total area. Time and again we were stunned by the awesome beauty of the scenic countryside, mesmerised by the power of crashing waterfalls, speechless at the strikingly coloured lakes and humbled by the vast mountains.
I wonder what your reaction is when you see beauty in the natural world? Invariably for me it reminds me of God’s creative power. Speaking of God, Paul wrote: ‘For his (God’s) invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made’. When we are captivated by the power of something like Niagara Falls, made to feel small by the magnitude of a great mountain, or transfixed by the beauty of a sunset, this is because God intends it to produce that kind of reaction in us. He has created stunning natural power and beauty for us to enjoy as signposts to his superior power and beauty. The tragedy is that for many, the signpost becomes the destination, and our gaze rests on the created rather than moving onwards to the creator.
Sometimes people say to me I don’t need church because I can experience the presence of God by being out in his creation. Paul goes on to tell us that because of the beauty of the natural world ‘we are without excuse’! The signposts we see to God in creation should lead us to want to meet with him personally. The message of the bible is that we do that corporately among God’s people as we read his written words, pray and sing songs of praise to him, which enables us to go beyond the signposts and have a living encounter with the creator. Why settle for the work of art when you can meet the artist who designed and made it?
This blog post featured in the September 2012 edition of Hook Focus