All Creation Sings

Standing outside on a cold winter morning, I see my breath as I exhale. I hold tightly to the leash as my dog sniffs the frozen ground. She leaves her mark on every spot that every other dog in the neighborhood has marked. I see the frost tipped grass that’s browned from the fall. It appears to be in a stagnant season at this point, but it’s only resting. The grass is gearing up for a busy season that’s just around the corner. It’s preparing for warmer months of growth and green and vibrance. It’s taking a break. It’s as if it’s the calm before the storm, but the grass is still very alive. The grass appears to be dead, but the work underground is moving along right on schedule. The dormant period for grass is an important step in its life.

I notice all the tree branches that have fallen from Thursday’s winds. Downed limbs mark the spot every few feet in the yard. As the small branches lay on the dead looking grass, their weakness is evident. Otherwise, they would still be holding strong to the tree that bore them. They couldn’t hold their strength against a strong wind. And that’s okay. Because the trunk of the tree still stands. The wind didn’t overtake the tree with its roots dug deep. But I noticed in my neighbor’s yard the two trees that have fallen, not from this week’s wind but from winds of days gone by. Sure. These neighbors will have the trees removed. They’ll have their fence repaired again, and life will go on as normal. And the winds will continue to blow at the appointed time.

I recall another sighting earlier in the week, as my dog and I were outside. Looking overhead, I noticed the small Cooper’s Hawk frantically flying through the air chasing a smaller bird just out of its reach. The hawk was searching for its next meal. The smaller bird was looking for a safe haven. In that particular moment, the smaller bird reached its safety nest before getting caught. And as I noticed the small hawk flying away empty handed, I knew it was still on the hunt for its next meal. And I knew it would be successful. At some point, there would be another small bird or rodent that would be caught in its mouth. The hawk would savor its meal and gain strength to sustain life. Life is a never ending circle.

Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy! Psalms 96:11-12

I also noticed a tree in my front yard beginning to form buds on the ends of each limb. Work was in progress as it began preparations for springtime. Oh. It seemed a tad early in the brisk cold, but the tree was planning for the future. It will soon spread its leaves and the flower buds will open, leaving a fragrance in the air for passersby to enjoy. This tree is gearing up for the growth and beauty that it will provide. Spring just can’t come soon enough. The dormant period is coming to an end.

As the days lengthen and become warm, they tease us with anticipation of the upcoming splash of color that’s around the corner. It’s assumed that nature is silent in the winter, because in our neck of the woods we see only brown and gray outdoors. But as the days grow longer and warmer, the gloominess will be replaced by a peek of sunshine and spring rain. At this moment in the soil, the bulbs and bushes are preparing for the next season of life. Creation sings not only in the spring when trees are budding and flowers are blooming. Creation sings in the winter with the frost on the plants. With the snowfall. With the frigid air. With the ice. Creation is singing. It’s just a different song. And it’s a song that a lot of people don’t like to hear because it’s cold. It’s inconvenient to bundle up to stay warm and safe. But hey. Life is full of inconveniences and we survive.

Creation is preparing for the next phase of life, because seasons come and go. In each season, we can find beauty if we look deep enough. If we don’t give up when things look bleak, when the sun isn’t shining, and all we see is gloom, we find hope. Then another day, the sun comes out and we feel its warmth. We see the limbs blown down, and we know that new limbs will grow. We see these empty trees and we know that new leaves will sprout. And they say that hope floats.

The hyacinths that I see coming up through the ground are an early sign that life is being lived under ground. And so that gives me hope that my life is still growing even underground where it can’t be seen. There is still beauty working in the dark days, in the lonely days and the trying times. When the ground looks barren, maybe we need to dig a little deeper. Because creation sings every day, even when we can’t hear it. Even when we can’t see the work nature is doing, it is still working. The wait is worth it.

Beauty, Truth and Goodness

I’ve recently read that today’s culture is not interested in Christianity. And that thought saddens me. As I continued to read, the author said that we Christians, we believers in God, and readers of His word must make Christianity attractive to those who are not believers today. And the question is, how do we do that? How do we make faith in God, a life lived walking in the will of God, attractive to people who’ve never wanted that before? To people who’ve never known the need for salvation? How do we awaken that desire in someone who isn’t interested?

This author went on to talk about how our culture has lost beauty, truth and goodness. And he talks about how the art work of today is not beauty. When compared to the classic artists like Michelangelo, da Vinci, Monet, Rembrandt and others whose works were inspired by God, contemporary art seems to have no inspiration. And consider today’s music. Can it be described as beautiful and inspiring? Many of the lyrics are vulgar. The sound is pulsing and suggestive. When compared to the classics of Mozart, Chopin and other composers who were inspired to write the great musical masterpieces, beauty has disappeared. There’s a reverence to the classical music pieces. They are timeless. There’s a depth to the classical artwork that isn’t in modern art. Anyone can draw squiggles or splash paint on a canvas.

I find as I’m going about each day I have no interest in listening to the noise of today’s music, which causes anxiousness and annoyance. Instead, I find myself drawn back to the old hymns that we sang in church as a child. As I listen to the instrumental hymns, I could sit and weep. The beauty of the notes and the chords is calming in a world filled with chaos. Recalling the words of those old hymns takes me back to a much simpler time. When life for me was easy. It may not have been easy for my parents, but it was fulfilling for them. And now I’m finding fulfillment in things of my youth. On occasion, I find myself listening to classical music, which I find to be peaceful and inspiring. As I listen to the instruments of the orchestra. Play the different parts. The key and chord combinations strike me as inspired by God. For a composer to be able to create such depth for all the instruments to play in harmony is a God given craft. And we should be thankful that exists in our lifetime. That it has not been removed from our libraries and taken from us. Let’s awaken to the classics. Let’s enjoy them. Let’s be inspired as they move us from deep within. Let’s awaken to beauty in our life.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Mark 12:30

I find that truth is missing in our lives today. When I think of the criminal and civil trials that we hear of in the news and the lies that have been spread in order to create interest, I cringe. We need truth today more than we’ve ever needed it before because we are being fed lies from so many different media and news sources. We need to know and seek the truth that only comes from reading God’s word and being able to parse out the lies of Satan. We need to get back to Biblical truths. God’s word will stand forever, regardless of what others say about it. Regardless of what others say about God. People can reject him. People can burn Bibles, but God’s word will always stand. The truth cannot be denied. There will come a day when we all stand before God and we will be held accountable for all of our actions and our words and our thoughts. If they do not match God’s Word, there will be eternal consequences. We will be rejected from his presence. Let’s pray for redemption and salvation, not rejection. We need to get back to the truth.

And then there’s goodness that is hard to find in our lives and in our culture. Shouldn’t we have a desire to live for something greater than ourselves? And don’t we know that this deep seated desire is given by God? We want our lives to matter. And we think that comes by doing good and giving back to others. And rightly so.

We are a broken people. We’re looking for wholeness. Wholeness brings a feeling of goodness to our lives. Peace. Self respect. Unity. We all long for it. But we’re only whole when we find God’s healing in our lives.

It’s time to reclaim the goodness of life. It’s time to appreciate the goodness of God’s love and gift of salvation that is freely offered to everyone who has breath. It’s time to reclaim the goodness and beauty of nature at its finest in the fall and winter and spring and summer. There’s goodness in each season of life. We must look for it. We can’t hide the goodness. We need to seek it out. And brush it off. Hang it on our walls. We need to shout the goodness of God.

Let’s be bold. Let’s stand for truth and goodness and beauty. Let’s let God’s love shine out this season in our hearts and in our lives, in our homes, in our families, in our workplace and in our relationships. Let’s stand for God’s truth, beauty and goodness. It cannot be denied.

Beauty, truth and goodness are deep longings of the heart, and they can only be fully explained through the lens of Christianity. In order to define Christianity as good, we must identify it as true and satisfying. And then we must see the world as Jesus sees it.

Deep within the human heart is the longing for the way it is supposed to be.

Paul Gould