When was the last time you soaked in the aching beauty of God’s creation? Or let me ask you, how does the aching beauty of God’s creation move you? I hope it does. God’s creation could be the very heart monitor you need to check the condition of your spiritual life. The music of God’s creation is all around us and this past weekend, I had a deep soak in the visual artistry of God. A long drive through vineyards, past California oaks, and the Pacific Ocean along Santa Barbara tunes you into the frequency of God’s love like no other. If there is one thing that renews my spirit, it is the beauty of God’s creation. I have a sneaking suspicion that God’s creation does the same for you. Let me share a story. It may inspire you to go for a slow walk or long drive this coming weekend. Read on…
Last weekend was my daughter’s Christmas concert at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Ellie is a freshmen in the architecture department…she also loves to sing. Since she really wanted some O’Connor family presence to receive the gift of her 60 person choir singing beautiful Christmas songs, my thirteen year old son, Aidan, and I took a quick road trip up the California coast to see her.
We left early Saturday morning amidst rainy skies and arrived after only four and a half hours of driving. The concert began with a fun, celebratory African hymn praising the wonder of the Christ Child. The next song, O Magnum Mysterium, stole the breath from my lungs. My first step into the hope and wonder of the Christmas season.
From Psalm 23 to Bach to O Holy Night to fun Dubstep acapella beats, Ellie’s Christmas concert was a perfect evening to focus my attention on the true meaning of Christmas. We only had one protocol break when Aidan gave his older sister a loud shout-out as she walked offstage, “EL-LIEEE!!!”
On the drive home the next day, there was a lingering echo in my heart from all the beautiful music the night before. As I took a deeper look at the dark clouds above me, a gradual unfolding of God’s creation began to awaken something deep inside of me.
Hillside after hillside of vineyards waiting for winter to drop their remaining red and yellow leaves.
Other vineyards were now a deep burnt rust against striking yellow poplars.
As I drove on, the cloudy skies filled with all shades of grey, white, and black.
Then, majestic orange and yellow sycamores…my favorite tree!
Green rows of produce on large farms with old red barns.
More vineyards, but this time, large olive-colored California oaks dotted among them.
Rolling hills. Farmland and sage covered mountains as far as I could see.
When I hit the coastline, the massive expanse of the Pacific filled with the heavy surge of a large winter swell.
Contrasted by the lacy white skirt of low-hanging clouds against the rock-studded mountains above me, a thought surfaced, “This is a cascade of wonder!”
I’m not embarrassed to say I was moved to tears. This generous slice of earth…a powerful reminder of God’s love, mercy and grace.
All reach deep into our hearts and souls to stir something very precious, something very hidden in us.
The aching beauty of God’s creation scratches the itch, that nagging urge for wholeness inside of us.
Like a Lover calling His Beloved, God is luring our hearts with the aching beauty of His creation.
Oh, if we’d only listen to the music of creation all around us.
In creation, we see His power, beauty, creativity, majesty and might. His love on display, ever-cascading, falling down upon us. Amazing wonders.
This aching beauty we sense. We feel. This groaning. This longing and hunger for wholeness. Redemption.
All aim towards hope.
For hope is the song of Christmas.
The birth of Christ, love’s first cry, drawing us nearer. Nearer. Nearer.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:22-25
Questions: How does the aching beauty of God’s creation move you? What is your favorite place to steal away to? The mountains? Desert? Country? Beach? What is the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever visited?
I’d love your thoughts and comments.