Finding God In Nature

One of our favorite family activities at the end of a busy day is to have dinner outside on our deck. Anne has done an amazing job of planting beautiful plants and flowers in pots on the deck. In addition to our natural beauty, we are blessed to have trees and a pond behind our home. There is something quite spectacular about sitting down to a wonderful meal (glass of wine, of course!) and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and the company of our family around a good meal.

One of the other amazing wonders of our deck is several bird feeders that Anne regularly fills to attract all kinds of winged creatures. We have yellow finches, cardinals, and even the occasional blue jay. They are getting more brave as these summer days wind on, and some of them will come to feed while we are sitting outside at the table. There are ducks on the pond and the occasional family of deer wandering through the wooded area behind our home.

In our gospel this weekend, Jesus uses images of nature to talk about the Kingdom. He uses the parable of the sower and the seed to talk about how He sows seed in each of our hearts, yet some do not produce good fruit. We know that, during these beautiful days of summer, we wait for the various plants in our gardens to produce all manner of vegetables and fruits for us to enjoy. Every farmer knows that God is in control of this process. Some years, the crops grow with little effort from the farmer, and other years, the farmer has to really cooperate with the weather that God sends to make a bountiful harvest. And yet God is constantly sowing the seed, hoping that with the right amount of love, mercy, and grace that seed will produce good fruit in the heart of the recipient.

It is amazing to be out in God’s creation, during these precious summer days. A couple of nights ago, I was out on the deck sipping a glass of wine and just pondering the enormity of the universe. Birds were singing, frogs were croaking in the pond, and the occasional loud duck or goose flew overhead making their presence known with their loud voices. As I stood up, I looked out over the pond and noticed a truly phenomenal sight. There, before my eyes, were three magnificent deer. I have always felt a strong connection to the Trinity, whenever I see three of anything in nature. I stood quietly in awe as they drank from the pond, occasionally looking up to see if any predators were near. I thought about the mystery of the Trinity—God in three persons. How do I understand this, Lord? I pondered, and I gazed on the lesson that God had placed before my eyes. There was a beautiful and evident bond in the three deer in the pond just yards from me. They watched each other. They peacefully existed on this summer night, not caring about anything but being together. Suddenly, without warning, they took off through the woods leaving me to wonder if God had really planned this lesson for me. I am confident that it was his hand at work!

God created everything in our world for a purpose. He created the plants and animals, and then he created man. Adam and Eve coexisted in the Garden of Eden, with all that God had created, and he pronounced it “good.” In these days when the world seems to be so confusing and chaotic, I am really thankful for the time I am able to spend in nature. I think of it as God’s “classroom for life.” It is here that we can attend to the animals around us and see in them the love that God has for each of us. 

The truth is that God loves all of creation. He loves each thing he created uniquely and with a love that is never ending. As we enter the middle of July, let us take time, as often as we can, to be in God’s creation. And as we enjoy the beauty that surrounds us, let us remember that God never wastes an opportunity to teach us. Let us find the lessons present to us in all of creation.

In Christ,
Deacon Tim

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