Worship through nature

I’ve been studying Church History for the past few weeks, and digging deeper into the Church Fathers’ ideas about worship.  Part of what has really intrigued me is the idea that things such as Baptism and the Eucharist were mediums through which God could (and can) be experienced.  Worship not of water, food, or nature, but experiencing God through these things.  Sometimes as evangelical Christians we are afraid to experience this, because we don’t want it to appear that we are actually worshipping the sky, or trees, or that the experience of being baptized in water that we worship the act of baptism.

Note: I’m not writing this blog to spark up a theological debate… just FYI.

Anyway, I LOVE Fall.  There is something so magical and mysterious about the changing of seasons anyway, and that combined with the nights growing cooler, the rain coming back, and harvest, it just captures me.  The other day, it was overcast and rainy, and all I could do was sit in my room and stare outside, because it was so beautiful.  Fall is one of the things I missed when I was in Thailand, and last year, to experience Fall again was one of the greatest gifts.

The next few months are my favorite of the year.  Watching football (High school football… I seriously could care less about watching college or pro… sorry), drinking Starbucks, reading, warm socks, playing outside… I love it all.

Anyway, some of my favorite hymns to sing just remind me of harvest and fall time, in fact, they are hard for me to sing any other time of the year…. two I can think of right now are “All Creatures of Our God and King”, and “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creation”.  Both are rich in imagery about creation, and seeing God in creation.  Creation being a medium through which we can experience and worship God.

The text of these songs is beautiful, but the music that accompanies is also stunning.  God has created this world, his finger-prints are all around us, yet we complain about the weather, and often times don’t stop to notice the small things.  Seems crazy, but somehow running has taught me to notice those small things.  Last Saturday, I ran 20 miles in mist, rain, and some fog, but it was incredible.  When I left for my run it was eerie, but so beautiful at the same time, looking out on a sleepy world, and getting completely drenched as I ran for 3 and a half hours.  Yes.  It’s true.  (That experience is a blog in and of itself!).

The Psalms are full of examples of seeing God in creation, and worshiping HIM.. not the creation of course.  This concept is very biblical… here are a few verses… Psalm 24:1-2, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon rivers.”  Psalm 19:1, “The havens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork…”.  The book of Job also is full of the worship of God in creation, and the acknowledgment that God is in control of the elements, in chapters 38 and forward, God lists out the ways he’s involved in all creation, and that creation is at his command.  Personally, I think as a culture and society, we’re pulled away from the connection of God and creation because we are not as aware (and dependent) on farming, and harvest.  Instead many live off processed and packaged food and don’t see the necessity (or value) or fresh, farmed food.  In the Bible, we can see the dependence people had on God blessing the harvest, and being in control of the weather, simply because people were dependent on the land producing food…to live!!  It was their livelihood (this is another blog, research paper, or doctoral thesis…).

Anyway.  Read the words of this hymn.  Let it sink in.  It’s so beautiful.  And of course listen to David Crowder’s version of it… it’s amazing.  We’re doing this on Sunday… with my friend Leila playing fiddle… it’s going to be amazing, like the unfolding of a letter… word by word, sentence by sentence.  Unfolding beauty and grace all in one.

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Oh, praise Him!  Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Oh, praise Him!  Oh, praise Him!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along
Oh, praise Him, Alleluia!
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice
Ye lights of evening find a voice
Oh, praise Him!  Oh, praise Him!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Let all things their creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness
Oh, praise Him!  Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father praise the Son
And praise the Spirit three in one
Oh, praise Him!  Oh, praise Him!
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

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One thought on “Worship through nature

  1. I love this Mer! We should make a point to enjoy everything fall this season. I’m up for Starbucks homework/reading dates, photo shoots, crunching through leaves, etc. and I can’t wait to sing this song Sunday with the fiddle!!!

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