February 24, 2021
“The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest tree leaf. Do you think God is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? . . . God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, behind you and before you. God’s entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself. God is entirely and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, in the field.”
A major part of rising from the ashes of this past year has been, for me, Nature. I don’t necessarily mean sitting in the woods all day, though I sometimes wish I could do just that, as much as simply paying attention to all the many miracles of wonder and awe that surround us daily. Take, for instance, ice.
I recently had reason for travel that included a stretch of Interstate 81 across the state of Virginia. Snow had fallen as part of the huge storm that affected 2/3 of the country, but snow wasn’t the issue by the time of my travel—the frigid temperatures and the arctic winds were. Yet even with that discomfort, which can certainly remind us of who is in charge, I was blessed with a most wondrous display of exquisite beauty: iced trees. As my husband and I rounded a corner, before us lay a display that only cliches can really describe—a “fairy world,” a “winter wonderland,” ice that “sparkled like diamonds.” The western afternoon sun reflected off of millions and millions of ice crystals that bejeweled the trees against a vivid blue sky. Trying to take pictures with a phone camera in a vehicle moving at 70 mph does not good photography make, but perhaps offers just a glimpse into the miracle with which we were gifted, mile after mile. We were spellbound.
When I got home and looked through the photos on the laptop, I was disappointed that we hadn’t been able to capture the full glory of that brilliant, shimmering display, but then I considered that Nature, and God, aren’t intended to be “captured.” They are intended to be received. When we stop to receive them, however fleeting they may be, we are reminded of the constancy of beauty and goodness. Creation itself becomes an anchor to all that is most important. It rises, not only from the ashes, but above the ashes, whispering, “And God saw that it was good.” That is what I hope to focus on and give my attention and energy to as we move from winter to spring, as we make a turn around from all the disruption and pain of this past year—that which is good.
The quotation at the beginning of this reflection was written by the great Reformer, Martin Luther. I can only imagine the horror of the Church at the thought that God might be present in the “tiniest leaf” instead of in power and wealth and control. But those things mean nothing to God, and nothing to Nature. So may we move forward and find God, the Source of our Being who is indeed rooted in us, in our wilderness places as well as in our gardens. Blessings to you. ~ Rosemary