Today, I cycled the South Creek Trail here in Springfield. It was a perfect day: bright sunshine, a few puffs of cloud in the blue sky, a cool breeze. There were moments of joy; I was living in the present: smelling the honeysuckle, listening to the trilling of the meadowlarks in the thistle along the creek bank, feeling good about riding.
The world looked equisitely beautiful to me, at least this little slice of it. And it looked even more beautiful when I stopped at Nathaniel Greene Park and walked my bike along the gravel footpaths of Close Memorial Park, taking in the sights of the English Garden, the work of a garden designer transplanted from England named Peter Longley, the Asiatic Garden, the new Butterfly Garden, which is enclosed in a screened quonset-shaped hut, and which features hundreds, perhaps thousands, of butterflies, settling on flowers for a time, then lifting off, and cork-screwing upwards in the breeze.
God reveals Himself in many ways, including in the natural world. I see Him in the beauty of parks, streams, mountains, gardens--the canvass upon which God, the artist, paints his picture of Himself before presenting it to us to enjoy, as I did today at the park. I see the flowers of Peter's English Garden and in them, the face of God. I hear the songs of the meadowlarks and hear the voice of the Creator.
In the beauty of creation, God is showing Himself to me. Today, the gardens are my burning bush. Remember how God reveals Himself to Moses in the burning bush?
As I stop today and take in the beauty, I am taking in God, in a kind of sacrament. And His Real Presence is food for my soul. God is renewing me through sights, sounds, and smells. I feel alive, as I do when I take in the bread and wine, the consecrated Body and Blood of Jesus in the Holy Communion. Fully alive in Christ's Presence.
Every day, I want to take a break for beauty, this particular way in which my Loving Creator is communicating Himself to me. In doing so, I realize that I, too, am part of God's creation and am beautiful. The Psalmist says, we are beautifully made. You are beautifully made. Rejoice. Make time for beauty. In doing so, you'll make time for God Himself.