Anyone who doubts that the people of this country are still seeking something more, even seeking God, need only have watched the first episode of Ken Burns' new PBS series, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."
This first two-hour episode was bathed in the language of general revelation. Episode 1 was entitled, "The Scripture of Nature," and the videography and narrative delivered as promised. Quotes from early proponents of creating national reserves for the delight and edification of the public, together with the general narrative, brimmed with talk of God, His creation, His majesty, wonder, beauty, immensity, and might. Lafayette Benel was quoted, one of the first white men to see the Yosemite valley, describing himself as experiencing "a peculiar exalted sensation...I have seen the power and glory of a Supreme Being." An early newspaper report of the area described "cathedral rocks...cathedral spires." Another report said that Yosemite featured "nature that looks like the new morning of God's creation." The underlying music included "This is My Father's World" as what would become Yellowstone National Park was described as an environment "fresh from the Maker's hand."
The series is building to be an argument not only for Americans to enjoy what they corporately own, but to suppress their appetite for unbridled consumption and the destruction of our natural resources in favor of taking the time to delight in the abundant beauty of the American wilderness. The first episode, which featured segments entitled "Eden" and "Hell", was a foretaste of rich explorations to come. Will the language of God and natural revelation continue? Perhaps not. But at least in this first episode the filmmakers thought it wise to play on such language, so they must have believed this would strike a receptive chord in the hearts of the great majority of viewers.
People can't help but think about God. He is, after all, continually making Himself known to the world in the things He has made (Ps. 19.1-4; Rom. 1.18-21). By and large people ignore the evidence of His revelation, but they see it anyway, and it appeals to them, even though they may suppress it.
It's always a good time to talk with people about the Lord. It's not so much that our generation has stopped its ears against the Gospel. Rather, the Church has become silent, preferring to do its "evangelism" within the safe walls of Sunday morning, where the true worship of God has been set aside for entertainment, light preaching, and an overall feel-good atmosphere which, church leaders are convinced, is just what "seekers" want in church. I don't agree. They want to connect with majesty, awe, power, holiness, sanctity, beauty, and the divine presence, and they want to be told "This is available, but not without some cost." God is still on the minds of our unsaved contemporaries. Now if only He were more in our lives and on our lips.
T. M. Moore
God on Their Minds
- Psalm 137:4-6 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
- Psalm 137:1-3 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
- Psalm 119:41-42 Let Your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your promise;
- Psalm 136:23-26 It is He who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever;
- Psalm 136:10-22 to Him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for His steadfast love endures forever;