Finding God in the Beauty of the World
Today’s readings tell us that after the flood which Noah escaped from in his ark, God created one of the most beautiful and amazing things – a rainbow in the sky – as a sign of his blessing and assurance that he would never again flood the earth. This is now a universal sign accepted by many people today as an everlasting sign of hope.
The reading from Matthew tells us how as God gave the simple grass in the field beautiful clothes (flowers), so he will give more beauty to those who strive to find him.
God’s beauty is just breathtaking. If you look, you can see it all around, sometimes in the most unexpected place.
The obvious things to think of are the sky and sea, babies, and puppies. But old dogs and old people also gain a beauty of their own – it shines out through the beauty and wisdom of an old soul.
There is endless beauty to be found in God’s creation. I have a couple of experiences to share with you concerning the beauty of God’s creatures.
Firstly, I know someone who witnessed a flock of flamingos come into land on a lake, and through the extraordinary beauty of the spectacle, God spoke to him – calling him to ordained ministry. Secondly, on a much smaller scale, I was standing in my street last summer talking to a neighbour when a dragonfly, out of nowhere, suddenly appeared and sat on a door post for us to admire for a few brief seconds. It was absolutely breathtaking the amount of beauty contained in such a small creature, and the aqua-coloured gossamer wings took it off and away as quickly as they had brought it to rest in our stunned attention.
Why not look around for beauty in your world today – it might come from the most unexpected source – perhaps the sky, birds and bird song, other wild creatures, the sunrise or sunset, the weather, or a random act of kindness.
Watch, enjoy, and allow yourself to be uplifted – give thanks to God for the Beauty of the Earth.
Genesis 9:8-17 NIV
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
Matthew 6:28-30 NIV
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Psalm 148 NIV
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,b]”>[b]
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the Lord.