Friday, October 21, 2016

Cascading Beauty

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
            -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Beauty is found all around us when we have eyes to see. Delicate flowers grace the side of the road in springtime; shades of lush green blanket the hillsides in summer. Brilliant leaves set trees ablaze in autumn, and snow adorns the earth in the dark months of winter. Beauty radiates in the world around us. From glimpses of a small hummingbird to grand vistas of snowcapped mountain peaks, magnificence fills the Garden of Eden where the Lord has placed us.

All beauty here on earth has poured forth from eternal Divine Beauty. It cascades down like an ever-tumbling waterfall, and saturates the world in which we live. Whatever splendor we see in the dazzling sunrise or the fiery sky at sunset is but an image, a manifestation, a flowing out of that invisible Beauty who spoke: “Let there be light!”

God is good—all good. Such goodness manifests itself in creation as order and beauty. Far from being an accident of chance, the cosmos exudes balance and order, proportion and rhythm. Without order and consistency, life would not be possible. Beyond such structure, however, the cosmos also bursts with beauty. We not only live on an earth where there is food and sunshine and the necessities of life, we live in a world drenched with beauty!

Although it is often assumed that beauty is subjective—“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—there is a deeper sense of beauty that is objective and universal. It cuts across race and age and personal preference. The sunlit sky, the stars at night, the wonder of a newborn baby all take our breath away.

The idea of God’s beauty behind all earthly beauty is at the heart of St. Augustine’s vision of creation. St. Augustine sees all things beautiful on earth as a reflections of God’s beauty: “Were they not fashioned by Him whose unseen and unchangeable beauty continually pervades all things.”[1] Elsewhere he addresses God, “O my Father, supremely good, beauty of all things beautiful.”[2]

My prayer echoes Augustine’s thoughts: O God of beauty, light and majesty, thank you for this magnificent earth where you have planted us. Praise you for the sunrise and splendor of each new day. We thank you for color and creativity that envelop us day by day. We praise you for radiance of the stars at night. O Lord of the universe, we bless your glorious name forever! Amen.

2016 © Glenn E. Myers
This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

[1] Augustine, City of God, (X.14), translated by Marcus Dods, New York: The Modern Library, 1950, p. 319.
[2] The Confessions of St. Augustine, (III.6), translated by John Ryan, New York: Image Books, 1960, p. 83.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Autumn: God’s Beauty Painted across the World

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
            -Romans 1:20

When we behold creation, we get glimpses of God’s divine nature. This is especially true when we watch the seasons change. Autumn offers us a unique perspective into different aspects of our Creator’s character, creativity and glory.

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year! For those of us who live in the northern climes, we have the opportunity to see God’s beauty written in brilliant yellows, fiery reads, joyful oranges and rich golds. God paints his glory across fields ripe for harvest. He sets the hillsides ablaze with autumn leaves. Whether kicking fallen leaves along a path through the woods, driving in the countryside or winding along mountain roads, we behold the handiwork of a God bursting with creativity, brightness, blessing and beauty!

“For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the Lord which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.”
       -Folliott Pierpoint

All the beauty we see on earth is just a reflection of the One who is Beauty itself! As we see the beauty of creation this autumn, let us behold God’s character—full of goodness, Wisdom, and Beauty! Then let us pour back to our Creator in praise and exaltation!

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All Creatures of our God and King: Praise on the Feast of Saint Francis!

“All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing.
O praise Him! Hallelujah!”
            -William Henry Draper

Based on Francis of Assisi’s hymn, Canticle of the Creatures, “All Creatures of our God and King” calls on all nature to worship God.

Francis of Assisi saw the cosmic reality of all creation praising God. He recognized the value in each human being and each living creature. Much of Francis’ personal prayer time was spent in the woods and fields of central Italy. From 40-day retreats in the mountains above Assisi, to solitary prayer in praise to God half the night in the forest, Francis met the Creator in the beauty of creation.

The Psalms are filled with rivers clapping their hands and mountains singing for joy. These are more than mere personification in the Scripture. Rather, such images reflect the eternal reality that every bit of creation was made to praise its Creator. Indeed, in time all of nature will erupt in worship to God, as Jesus said, “the rocks themselves will cry out!” (Luke 19:40). Psalm 148 (NIV) declares:

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.
. . .
Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
    old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Today let us join with Francis—and countless believers over the centuries—who have found nature to be a wonderful sanctuary in which to meet God. Let us soak in the beauty that surrounds us and praise the Author of Beauty for his wonderful gift to us in creation!

2016 © Glenn E. Myers
This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Green Growth

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
            -Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

As I look out the window this morning, I see green all around. God has blessed us this year with abundant rain, and our fields and gardens, trees and lawns, are lush green and verdant.

When we reflect on God’s creation—the Book of Nature, as early Christians called it—we discover principles at work, both in the natural realm and the spiritual realm.

Greenness speaks of growth. The Lord created a world in which living things are meant to develop and flourish. Plants, animals and people—we are all designed to “green” and grow, to move toward maturity. God could have made a world in which everything was static, but instead he fashioned everything that draws breath to change and progress and come to fruition.

Seeing the greenness all around me in creation begs the questions: How am I growing right now? Am I maturing emotionally? Am I cultivating healthy relationships in my life? Am I green and growing spiritually, putting roots deep down in the Lord?

Sometimes growth is not immediately obvious. Some seasons of life are drought—hot, dry and difficult. But, as Jeremiah 17 notes, these are times when we put down our roots deeper into the Lord. Beneath the surface, we actively extend our roots into God’s living water.

In due time, then, fruit will begin to appear. The drought may still be going on—time of desolation, as Ignatius of Loyola calls it—but we do not need to be wither up. Instead, as we draw life from our Creator, we can growth stronger through the difficulties and go on bearing fruit in our lives!

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

Splendor of Light!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
            –James 1:17

To behold creation is to get a glimpse of God, his divine character, his invisible attributes. In the gleaming sunlight we see a ray of God’s glory and splendor shining forth without ceasing.

At times clouds may block our view—sometimes for days or weeks. This is true in the physical world when it is rainy and we have no sunshine for days. It is also true in our inner life, when dark clouds of difficulty and discouragement move in.

During these times we must trust. Too easily we give up hope and resign ourselves to life without heavenly light. Although we may not see its light or feel its warmth while clouds of many kinds darken our view and dampen our day, we must hold onto the unseen reality that heavenly brilliance never ceases, never decreases, and never changes. Although we can see only clouds and darkness, divine radiance still shines forth without end.

In due time clouds will roll away and we are once again able to see the sunshine. Though our vision of the sun was blocked for a season, we once again bask in light. We again spy the resplendence of the Lord shining anew on our world, and we bask in its beauty, its illumination, its warmth and its wholeness.

So we learn about our incomprehensible Creator. “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). He never leaves us or forsakes us. While we may not see his love and presence during dark days and long nights in life, his light will in due time break forth anew!

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Just wanted to let everyone know about a great new issue of Christian History Magazine: The Wonder of Creation.
One of the articles, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God," I wrote on the monastic understanding of creation over the last 17 centuries.
Here is the link to the full magazine online:

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Abiding in Jesus

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
-John 15:4-5 (NASB)

To abide in Jesus is to remain integrally connected with him. It is to “permanent” ourselves in Jesus, making him our home. Abiding in our Lord means drawing our very life from him all day long, just as the branches of a tree or grapevine draw their life-giving sap from the trunk of the plant. To be separate from that trunk is to be severed from life itself.

Unlike a branch, however, grafting into the truck is not a one-time event to be take for granted ever after. Rather, Jesus commands us to abide in him and his word. We have a choice of abiding in him, dwelling in his word, or not. If we remain connected, the very life of Jesus flows through us as the water from the tree trunk flows into each branch.

How often, though, we disconnect ourselves from that integral connection with the Lord in search of life elsewhere. We choose to abide with friends or entertainment and neglect time with Jesus when we could have drawn from the sap of his life-giving word, when our veins and arteries could have been aligned with this in prayer so that we received his life-giving flow. We try to graft ourselves to success to give us life and meaning. Else we graft ourselves to entertainment or food or substances to give us a jot so we feel more alive.

So Jesus’ words come rolling down to us over the centuries: Abide in me!

© 2016 Glenn E. Myers