8:18

Blossoming thoughts

Blossoming thoughts

I’m not ready to leave the garden.

Last time, I shared some photos of a nearby public park that is, for a brief time, a riot of colorful blooms.  Since I had more images to share, I thought I’d take a rare back seat in this column and let someone else do the talking.

What follows is an excerpt from William Cowper’s epic poem, The Task.  Cowper was a brilliant 18th Century writer and the author of hymns still in circulation today.  This poem is very 8:18ish – it starts with a challenge to write about a sofa and ends up as a long, rambling, observational commentary on life and how God can be found all around us. (Wait -- I hope I'm not long and rambling!)

Since this focuses on nature and spring, I’ll syncopate it with my remaining photos.

…there lives and works
A soul in all things, and that soul is God.
The beauties of the wilderness are His,
That make so gay the solitary place
Where no eye sees them. And the fairer forms
That cultivation glories in, are His.
He sets the bright procession on its way,
And marshals all the order of the year.
He marks the bounds which Winter may not pass,
And blunts his pointed fury. In its case,
Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ
Uninjured, with inimitable art,
And, ere one flowery season fades and dies,
Designs the blooming wonders of the next.

The Lord of all, Himself through all diffused
Sustains and is the life of all that lives.
Nature is but a name for an effect
Whose cause is God.

Not a flower
But shows some touch in freckle, streak, or stain,
Of His unrivalled pencil. He inspires
Their balmy odours and imparts their hues,
And bathes their eyes with nectar, and includes,
In grains as countless as the sea-side sands,
he forms with which He sprinkles all the earth.

Happy who walks with Him! whom, what he finds
Of flavour or of scent in fruit or flower,
Or what he views of beautiful or grand
In nature, from the broad majestic oak
To the green blade that twinkles in the sun,
Prompts with remembrance of a present God.
His presence, who made all so fair, perceived,
Makes all still fairer. As with Him no scene
Is dreary, so with Him all seasons please.

The words above, “His presence, who made all so fair, perceived, makes all still fairer,” is as good a summary of this column as anything I could write.

I pray that you will perceive your ever-present Lord as you go throughout this day.

Lord, all of life is made sweeter by knowing you.  Use everything we come across today to draw us back to your constant presence.

Reader: What around you, in your last day or so, reminded you of the Lord’s presence with you?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.