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Posts Tagged ‘creation’

This might sound strange, but I love spending time staring at certain things. For example, I used to sit in front of our open fire when the children were little and stare into those flames for ages. I still enjoy gazing at the washing as it flaps on the clothesline. And I also love watching the leaves in the trees as they are tossed about in the wind—or even their tiny movements as a gentle breeze stirs them. On a slightly more normal note, I love looking at the various types of foliage on the shrubs and bushes outside my study window and the different shapes and colours and textures of their leaves. And of course, I love the shapes and colours of the beautiful flowers, large and small, growing in the garden right at our front door and on the nearby trees and shrubs.

Now these trees and shrubs and flowers do not say anything out loud that I can hear at least—although I have a neighbour who believes in talking to her plants to encourage them to grow, so maybe they do! Nevertheless, surely they speak volumes in their own beautiful, silent way of the heart of God for our world and for us all, don’t you think?

This past weekend, I presented a writing workshop to help others get started on a project for our church’s Art Installation to be held next month. The theme for this year’s Installation is ‘Creation Speaks His Name’—and what fun I had preparing my input! The more I thought about it all and the more I gathered bits and pieces together to inspire us on the day, the more in awe of God I became. I know there are places in our world right now that are crying out for rain, where nothing much will grow. But in general, as we look around us, creation does indeed speak God’s name, telling us something about God’s nature and personality, shouting aloud to all who listen that God is indeed the all-powerful and all-loving creator of the universe.

As I selected various nature photos taken over the years to use in my workshop, I found myself in awe of the beauty of creation depicted in them. I heard them speak loudly of God’s own beauty and glory and God’s abundant grace in surrounding us with such splendour. Some photos I included of rugged, snow-covered mountains, swiftly flowing streams and unique rock formations also spoke to my heart of God’s awesome power and strength and majesty. I noticed too, in the flowers and fruit and vegetables I gathered together to inspire our writing, the amazing variety in creation, which surely mirrors God’s boundless creativity and endless resources. And, in those tiny, perfectly formed blossoms and leaves I had collecteIMG_20190807_120901938d, I saw God’s generous, extravagant love that would bother to make even a little wildflower no one may ever see or an insignificant leaf on a common, household pot plant into a miniature work of art.

Yes, surely creation speaks God’s name, loud and clear. In response, may we join with those winged creatures Isaiah describes around the Lord’s throne and shout out our praises too!

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3

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If you’re wondering right now what on earth a croquembouche is, then please check out the photo opposite. This one was a gift from our elder daughter to our younger daughter Tina and her husband Kofi for their recent wedding celebration – and what a work of art it was! It was created by Jean-Francois Perron of ‘Choco Cannelle’ (www.chococannelle.com.au) and is a French celebration cake made from profiteroles filled with crème patissiere. The profiteroles were dipped in toffee and the whole creation liberally decorated with more toffee and a sprinkling of nuts and sugared almonds. Along with some separately baked profiteroles, this croquembouche (literally, ‘crunch in the mouth’) was the dessert for around a hundred guests at the wedding reception.

It was an extremely generous gift from one sister to another, but the journey of obtaining the croquembouche was not without its hiccups. Jane thought she had understood exactly how many profiteroles would be in the croquembouche. However, to our horror, her sister discovered only the day before that there would not be nearly enough to go round our guests. Yet all was not lost. After some panic and tears and a quick visit to the patisserie to pay for extra profiteroles, the problem was solved. And on the night, when everyone had finished oohing and aahing and taking photos, the kitchen staff pulled our croquembouche apart and we proceeded to munch our way through it.

Some days later, for some odd reason it occurred to me that this is how we often treat God’s creation around us. We see or experience an amazing mountaintop view, a breathtaking sunset, the lushness of a rainforest, the clear blue of ocean waters, the delicate fragility of a tiny wildflower, the intricacy displayed in the body of a small insect. We admire it all – then so often, with or without thinking, destroy it. We forget to treasure it and care for it well, as good stewards of God’s creation. Just as with our croquembouche, which was proudly delivered to the venue with extreme care by its maker himself, so, way back in the beginning, God delivered something that was perfect in every way – our created universe that God himself declared in Genesis 1 to be ‘good’, in the full sense of the word. Yet it wasn’t long before that creation was marred. It wasn’t long before we as human beings ignored God’s instructions and took things into our own hands.

The misunderstanding about the size of our croquembouche was not a matter of life and death. It was only a cake, after all – albeit a very special, expensive one! But treating God’s creation as if it’s unimportant is in another league altogether. This truly is a matter of life and death. Who knows how much longer this planet will be able to hold together with the treatment it has received from us?

So I ask myself … how carefully am I treating God’s wonderful gift of creation all around me? In fact, how am I treating God’s greatest and most costly gift of all – Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God? Am I truly treasuring him and honouring him each day in my life as he deserves? Or am I indifferent, even despising and rejecting him, as described in Isaiah 53?

Most of our croquembouche is gone now – just a few pieces of toffee remain. Our world too may not last much longer. But ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). And that’s what really matters.

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Tapestry--Eric WardropLast week I was blown away when I answered my doorbell one day to be handed a cylinder that I soon discovered contained a very special gift – the exquisitely worked tapestry pictured here.

This gift is special for several reasons.  Firstly, it came from a cousin, with thanks for my novels and in recognition of the time and effort I put into writing them.  Secondly, the tapestry is beautifully done and must have taken hours and hours to complete – just as my novels do.  Thirdly, it was accompanied by a monetary gift to cover the cost of having the tapestry well framed. Fourthly, my cousin could not have known that I am currently in the process of redecorating our daughter’s old bedroom and fitting it out as my study – a place of my own in which to write and where I can have beautiful things around me such as this tapestry to uplift my spirit.  Fifthly, my cousin could also not have known that I had just finished preparing a talk that included a quote from the writer Madeleine L’Engle on the place of listening in both writing and praying – nor that I already have a framed card near where I now write, featuring another Emerson quotation that says:

To accomplish excellence or anything outstanding, you must listen to that whisper which is heard by you alone.

How could the grace of God not touch my heart through all of this?  Surely the kindness and care and effort behind the gift itself, as well as its appropriateness and even the timing of its arrival, have all the hallmarks of a God who gives lavishly and lovingly?  Yet it’s more than this too.  As I admired the creativity displayed in my beautiful gift, I thought again of how this in itself speaks of God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, who chose to impart something of this creativity to each one of us, children made in his image (Genesis 1:27).  All of us seem to long to be creative in some shape or form, whether it be via tapestry, painting, writing, gardening, knitting, designing, baking – the list is endless.  And for many of us, the desire, whether conscious or subconscious, to mirror something of our Creator to the world is very strong.  Recently a friend told me of a relative’s passion for photography, of recording as faithfully and as artistically as he can the incredible beauty of our own land in a way that will open our hearts afresh in praise to God.  And after perusing his website and being spellbound, I believe he achieves exactly that (see www.davidstowe.com.au).

So how about you?  Look around!  See and marvel at the work of our Creator, both in nature and through those made in his image!  And listen too, to that whisper of God that may well stir your own creative spirit to fashion something that will bless others in ways you might never imagine!

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