31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
April 25, 2021
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
If you were to scroll through my Facebook feed, you would see pictures of cute babies, pastors begging for best practices for in person worship and live streaming, and the occasional cat or dog video. My Twitter stream is a little more serious with people making deep statements about faith, life, and the world.
But my Instagram feed. Oh, to scroll through my Instagram is to be transported to the awe-some sights of the Grand Canyon, to stroll through the blossoming crab apple trees of the Smithsonian Gardens, to oooh and aaaah over amazing animals from our nation’s zoos.
My Instagram feed is a reminder that there is such beauty to be found in nature – from the Sequoias in California, to the mysterious geysers of Yellowstone, to the glaciers of Alaska and the pink sand beaches of Bermuda. Our world is full of wonder.
This past Thursday was the 51st celebration of Earth Day, and all of these amazing photographs are reminders of why we need to protect the earth and all that is in it. Reminders that we, as people of faith, have been called to steward, care for this earth that is God’s creation and our home. We are responsible for making sure that our children and our children’s children and their children can marvel in all of the sites this world has to offer.
The writer of Psalm 148 reminds us though, that as majestic as the earth is, as wondrous as nature is, the beauty of creation is not an end itself. From the smallest insect to the grandest mountain, all of creation points to God, connects us to God, gives glory to God.
The Psalmist calls on every living thing on this earth, the sea creatures, fruit trees and mighty cedars, the creeping things and flying birds and people of all ages, cultures, and colors, to praise God. For every rock and mountain, flame of fire and tiny snowflake, for even the sun and moon and shining stars, to praise the Lord.
All of creation points to God, connects us to God, gives glory to God.
As a people of faith, as those who follow Jesus Christ, we are deeply rooted in prayer. We turn to God in prayer for so many reasons throughout our day and week. We turn to God with our prayers of worry and concern. We pray for ourselves; we pray for our loved ones; we pray for strangers who are hurting and grieving this day.
We ask God to intercede in our world, bringing peace, love, and justice, as well as an end to this global pandemic. We confess our sins in prayer and ask God to help us forgive others in the way we wish to be forgiven. We thank God for our health, for our homes, for the opportunity to make a difference, for the blessings we are blessed to share with others. We turn to God for wisdom, to discern the right path forward.
And we also pray to praise God, to give glory and honor to the One who has made both us and the universe, to be in awe of the One who created all of this.
Sometimes though, we overlook this important part of our prayer life and relationship with God. Sometimes, we forget to be in awe of God.
Nature helps us to remember. Nature wakes us up. Nature opens our eyes. Nature helps us slow down, pause, stop even, and be with God. Focus on God. Offer up prayers of praise and adoration to God. Telling God, “I adore You. I am devoted to You. I love you, Lord.”
Nature can help us to pray with praise and adoration because creation already sings the glory of God in every single moment, every single day.
In “All Creatures of our God and King”, a hymn based on Psalm 148, we sang how the rushing wind, the rising morn, the flowing water, and the blazing sun, all praise God and sing Alleluia.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet beautifully writes: “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)
Each orchid, each seashell, each tree, sings, claps, and gives glory and honor to God.
The beauty and wonder of nature that points to the awesome majesty of God is not only found in our national parks or in exotic locations. The beauty and wonder of creation is found all around us – in the tree in our neighbor’s yard, in the violets in our backyard, the violets in our homes, in a rock we find while out walking.
The beauty and wonder of creation is found all around us, wherever we live, wherever we are, and it all points us to God.
All of creation reminds us to give praise and honor to our Awesome God, who created everything in our world and beyond.
The glory of God is all around us inviting us to sing Alleluia and give praise to God, our Creator, whose majesty is beyond imagining and whose love is even greater still.