The poem above, by Joyce Kilmer, an American poet who died in the First World War, sums up how many encounter God in everyday life as they apprehend the Divine in the natural world. The discovery that trees in a forest nurture one another by supplying nutrients and moisture to one another, particularly to the vulnerable and struggling, only adds to the wonder of the connections that are made in nature that we are only just beginning to grasp. I have had the experience of standing in Cathedral Grove, a forest of Old Growth here on Vancouver Island, and feeling my breath taken away by the majesty and beauty of the huge Douglas Firs that grow there.
Taking time to stop and engage with the natural world around us can be a humbling, inspiring, and thought-provoking experience. Delighting in nature is, for me, also a chance to delight in the creative force behind it, the God who we call 'Creator' - even for those of us who don't take the creation myths found in the book of Genesis literally, the creative force behind this all is, we believe, the God of love who meets us in their creation.
Praise GOD from the heavens; *
praise GOD in the heights.
Praise GOD, all you angels of GOD;
praise GOD, all GOD’s host.
Praise GOD, sun and moon;
praise GOD, all you shining stars.
Praise GOD, heaven of heavens,
and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the Name of GOD;
for GOD commanded, and they were created.
GOD made them stand fast for ever and ever;
GOD gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise GOD from the earth,
you sea-monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and fog,
tempestuous wind, doing GOD’s will;
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,
creeping things and wingèd birds;
Rulers of the earth and all peoples,
governors and all judges of the world;
People of all genders,
old and young together.
Let them praise the Name of GOD,
for GOD’s Name only is exalted,
GOD’s splendor is over earth and heaven.
GOD has raised up strength for their people
and praise for all their loyal servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near GOD.