My father had a reverence for God’s creation. When I was a child our family camped from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again: two adults and four children crammed in a wood-sided 1950s station wagon stuffed with sleeping bags, air mattresses that inevitably deflated during the night, a gigantic tent that needed to be wrestled into position, tarps that were strung over picnic tables for attempted rain protection, Coleman stove and lantern, and all the other paraphernalia.
We did this because my father wanted us to experience the breadth and majesty of nature. For example, we spent an entire evening watching the sun set over the Grand Canyon, the shadows creeping up the layered-walls until darkness was complete. Day was done.
There was no doubt that my father saw God’s hand in nature. One of the most memorable worship experiences in my life was on a different camping trip, in Acadia National Park. On Sunday morning we hiked to an isolated area of the rocky coast and there, with the waves crashing, seagulls flying, tidepools teeming with life, we worshipped.
These childhood experiences are long in my past. I am encouraged today as I see families using this time to connect with the natural world. We live near a bike path that runs along a stream. Every day we see some families walking, scooting or biking together and others down below, playing in the stream. Families stop to watch the deer nibbling or the mallards paddling or the turtles sunning themselves. Children pick up fallen camellia blossoms or daffodils. Kites are flown.
I hope that decades from now the children I see on the bike path and stream will remember the times that their families spent together delighting in nature. Here, in Arlington, we experience the wonder and majesty of creation.
- Mary Bell
Psalm 104:24 “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”