Creation in the Heart of the Christian


View from Mt. Lassen, Callifornia

When I was a child, my favorite hymn was, by far, “This Is My Father’s World.” There was something inherently organic, yet otherworldly, in the simple words that begin this hymn:

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

The planets (the “spheres” as so elegantly put in the hymn) sing the praises of God. Contrary to the small-minded who believe God stopped speaking the second the canon of Scripture was closed, God continues to speak to us through His creation. The beauty of an unfolding lily attests to the artistry of God and His profound love for us that we may delight in what He delights in.

I know that God takes pleasure in what His words have wrought. I also know that I take pleasure in those things. So far this April it has averaged about 70 degrees and sunny here in SW Ohio. I cannot remember an April so auspicious in its loveliness. This kind of weather lifts everyone’s spirit.

Yesterday was the first cutting of the grass. Our property is a bit over thirteen acres, with much of it grass at this point. But as I sit up on my tractor and mow, I cannot help but feel something warm within me. The senses God gave me collect a host of data that all point to one thing: God can speak to us through the land.

I’ve blogged on this before, but I want to reiterate the thought. I believe that one of the reasons that many Christians feel impoverished in their souls is because they lack any connection to the land. Too many of us get all our food from the grocery store and never eat what we could grow ourselves if we had a tie to the land. This divorces us from God’s creation, a state I believe He never intended us to dwell in. Being able to till the soil and grow our own food puts more of our reliance back on the Creator and less on nameless and faceless multinational food production companies.

I believe God is calling Christians to get back to the land, to be better stewards of God’s world than we have been, and to outdo the pantheistic leftists (who seem to inhabit all the environmental groups out there) in our ability to care for Creation. We need to be less reliant on food distribution systems and more reliant on the Lord. I believe that Christians who are considering purchasing a new home buy one with a smaller house, but more property on which to grow food.

This year we are putting in a permaculture fruit orchard with apples, cherries, and Asian pears, plus all the supporting flora (to cut down on our use of harsh chemicals.) We want to be as organic as possible. Since my wife and I both enjoy a nice glass of wine with meals from time to time, we plan on putting in a vineyard after that—we have great soil for it. We live in the viticultural area that in the 1800s was the equivalent to what Napa is today, so we know it can be done.

And there is a blessing that comes from this that I think too many of us are missing. When we become detached from the land, we lose our ability to appreciate the bounty of God’s provision, taking for granted everything we consume. And while the Fall made growing our own food more difficult, the original call of God to be fruitful and to subdue the land has not been rescinded.

Every time I stroll through this property, I thank the Lord. I watched red-bellied woodpeckers cavort on a dying tree yesterday. The meadowlarks stroll in packs through the grass, disturbing the bugs they eat. Bats tear through the sky in random patterns, flying over the blooming pear trees, and the roses with their fresh green leaves. Warblers begin their re-acclimation to southern Ohio, their babbling songs ringing through the budding walnut, sycamore, and locust. Tadpoles swim the creek, while adult frogs croak their mating calls from the pond.

It all speaks to the majesty of God and too many people are missing it, casually ignoring Creation as they fly from one activity to another, dead to the voice of God speaking in the mulberry trees, the bluebirds, or the cirrus clouds wafting by overhead.

This year, rediscover the voice of God in Creation. Find a way to grow your food. Seek out the quiet places in the woods where God can charm you with His verdant lullabies.

In the words of another hymn:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

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