Creation is Good (6)
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourselfwith light as witha garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind… Psalm 104.1-3
So many greens
A few years back, Susie and I lived in rural West Virginia. From the front porch of our home, we had a view of Laurel Mountain, as it stretches north to south, east of Belington. During extended periods of solitude, I would sit on the front porch and watch the mountain, as the sun, clouds, and winds played against it creatively.
What I remember most about those mornings and afternoons of solitude and observing was the way Laurel Mountain changed colors with the movement of the sun. During the morning hours, when the sun was on the far side, shades of dark green would prevail, each new tone gradually unveiled by the morning mist as it retreated up the side of the mountain. By early in the afternoon, this palette had been replaced by various bright green tones, that shimmered as the breeze worked the trees, or faded to dark green and back under a passing cloud. Late in the afternoon, more subdued colors of green would come in, more like the true colors of the various trees, with the sunlight from behind me being reflected off them more directly in my direction. So many greens, I remember thinking.
But now we live in Vermont – Ver- as in verde, green; and -mont as in mountains. The greens of Vermont make the greens of Laurel Mountain look like distant runners-up in a greens beauty contest. Sometimes we have occasion to drive a few miles north to St. Albans, and I can never get over the seemingly infinite shades of green that deck the forest on either side of Highway 89. The Champlain Valley is like an ever-changing kaleidoscope of greens.
So many greens!
Whether we like it or not
Shift frames to another favorite pastime – watching The Weather ChannelTM. I’m fascinated by the way atmospheric components come together and move across the country to create the weather we experience each day. Jet streams, cold and warm fronts, high and low pressure, wind, and water vapor combine and cavort in endlessly creative ways. Sometimes during the summer months, our granddaughter Reagan and I will study the clouds overhead, to discover how many different objects or scenes the skies present. (I’m Charlie Brown to her Linus, believe me.)
The late Vance Havner, that wonderful southern evangelist, encouraged us not to fret about the weather, but to enjoy it, since we can’t do anything about it. He would say, quoting from an anonymous poet, “Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, whatever the weather we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.”
The weather is creative. Enjoy it. The skies and clouds are creative. The breezes and trees are creative, as are rippling streams and gently-gliding rivers, the white caps on Lake Champlain, and the mouse-eared chickweed that faithfully returns to my yard every year, albeit not always in the same place.
Creation is creative, mixing forms, colors, moods, temperatures, and things in infinitely diverse ways, to remind us that God Who controls the weather, sustains the creation, and gives us the ability to discern colors, is a creative and beauty-loving God. The creativity of creation is good, but we have to be willing to observe and contemplate it if we’re going to appreciate the goodness it proffers.
Stimulus to creativity
Friends I know have come to enjoy the surprising creativity of creation that most of us take for granted. To be astonished to turn a corner and encounter a super moon, to be dazzled by a wildflower, left speechless by a frost-covered field, or reduced to reverence by a flock of vultures, soaring above a valley floor, is to encounter the creativity of creation in ways that resonate with the image of God in our souls. To shudder beneath a thunderstorm, marvel amid the silence of a snowfall, stand in hushed silence while the wind rushes through the trees, or wonder at the shimmering greens of hillside, is to be taken up into the creativity of creation and caught up in its witness to our creative God. No matter where we look, we can see beauty in ordinary things, and be overwhelmed by the infinite variety of ways creatures can cause us to wonder, laugh, shout, or pray.
The creativity of creation has stimulated artists, philosophers, poets, choreographers, composers, scientists, and ordinary folk like you and me to undertake exercises in creativity that have brought much good to the world. Every one of us has creative potential, the ability to combine things and ideas into new forms and operations, that bring meaning and delight to our lives. How dull the world would be if nothing ever changed, if no new forms or patterns ever came into being, or if every creature always acted exactly as we expected it would. By observing God’s creativity in His creation, we are stirred in our minds and hearts to try new things, think new ways, and enjoy living and working creatively in all-too-familiar places, and to worship the God Who makes and keeps such a creative world.
The creativity of creation can encourage us to live humble, reverent, and creative lives, and thus to bring the creativity and goodness of God to light in the land of the living.
1. Do you agree that creation is creative? Can you give an example that especially sticks with you?
2. How would you explain the idea of creativity? Why should Christians be encouraged to observe the creativity of creation?
3. How many different forms of creativity in creation can you observe out a window just now?
Next steps – Preparation: Creation is creative because, while in many ways it stays the same, it seems always to be changing, if only just a little. What can you observe of the creativity of creation today? How does that observation affect you for good?
T. M. Moore
What are you doing at 8:18 am? If you’re with Bruce Van Patter, you’re observing the goodness of God in your immediate surroundings. Take a look at Bruce’s column, and let your world come alive with goodness (click here). You can subscribe to receive 8:18 as often as it comes out, right on your desktop.
Our book, Consider the Lilies, can help you learn how to appreciate the infinite creativity of creation. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.