Reflections By: Glenn Myers
God’s glory in nature is a two-way street—a cosmic dialogue—between the Lord and us. One direction is the Lord’s outpouring toward us. God’s radiance cascades down from the Godhead and showers the earth with his brilliance and light. The Creator cares for the land and drenches its furrows, says Psalm 65, crowning the year with bounty and providing for our every need. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning declares, if we have but eyes to see:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.
The other direction is our reply. God’s speaking forth in creation elicits a response from us. We are invited to pour back to our Creator. As we see God’s goodness and provision in the fields ripe for harvest, we answer in thanksgiving. As we see the Divine’s radiance in the sunrise, we cannot help but sing his praise. When we behold the Almighty’s order and constancy in the change of seasons or in the stars marching across the night sky, we declare: Great is thy faithfulness!
How often, though, we miss this magnificent interchange with the Lord. Preoccupied with thoughts and concerns, we seldom pause to look up. Weighed down with the responsibilities of each day, we overlook the big picture of God’s ever-flowing grace and our opportunity to reply with thanks and praise.
One simple practice that has helped me reconnect with God’s creation over the past months is the rhythm of “lifting my eyes” periodically throughout the day. Instead of obsessing about my day’s schedule as I drive to work, I take the opportunity to look all around me and intentionally behold the goodness of the fields and rolling hills during my commute. Raising my nose from the grindstone at times throughout the day, I take a few moments to direct my gaze toward all the beauty that surrounds me. Pausing from the work at my desk, I lift up my eyes to savor the view of trees and a small pond just outside my office window.
As I do so, all of life comes into perspective. The snags of the day dwindle in significance as I regain my vision of God’s grandeur. My heart warms when I am reminded of the Almighty’s provision. As I contemplate God’s goodness cascading down from the heavens to the beauty on earth to me, I rejoin the cosmic dialog. Without notice I spontaneously send forth words of gratitude or sing a song of praise in my heart.
Autumn on the Mississippi River, photo by Glenn Myers
As Autumn leaves change color and then give way to winter white over the coming weeks, let us be mindful in lifting up our eyes to see—truly see—God’s goodness all around us. As we behold our Creator’s glory displayed in nature, let us join in the cosmic dialog, returning thanksgiving and praise. With all of creation, we declare from Psalm 150: “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!”
—Glenn E. Myers is professor of church history and theological studies at Crown College and author of Seeking Spiritual Intimacy: Journeying Deeper with Medieval Women of Faith. Read more of Dr. Myers’s reflections at Deep Wells and in The Heavens Declare the Glory of God in Christian History magazine #119.