|Psalm 19: 1 – 4 (KJV)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Growing up, family devotions were a regular part of my life. Each morning, Monday through Saturday, my father would lead a brief devotional around the kitchen table as a part of our breakfast routine. Included with those devotionals was a practice of memorizing Bible verses. Among the Biblical passages were selections from the book of Psalms, where I became quite familiar with Psalm 19, but neither the power nor beauty of the language of the passage of Scripture sunk home until I first witnessed the Grand Tetons as a fifteen year-old boy. At the moment I first saw those majestic peaks rising before me, it validated for me, “This is my Father’s world!”
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.
Maltbie D. Babcock
And at that moment David’s words from Psalm 19 rang true, and what puzzled me was how anyone who witnessed God’s grandeur could not come to that realization, for David noted “there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” God’s handiwork is on display before us, everywhere, everyday!
A few years later, as a freshman in a British literature class, that same reality came home once again as I was introduced to the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit priest who began writing poetry. His poems displayed a richness of language with an emphasis on the individuality of every natural thing. Hopkins himself used his writing to convey the sense of God’s mystery, grandeur, and mercy, as illustrated in his poem “God’s Grandeur.” Reading this poem it is evident that Hopkins expressed his joy in “all things counter, original, spare, strange,” a line he wrote in his poem “Pied Beauty.”
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877
A few months ago as I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, that same reality became evident once more while viewing a segment on biomimicry, a segment that reveals the technology of nature, technologies that, as far as I’m concerned, are not accidental but the work of the Creator. Check this out:
It is clear to me: “This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair.”