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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

The book I’m reading¹ shows Jesus as a very tender, intimate friend.

My scripture reading² last night shows Him as fierce judge, waging war in righteousness with fiery eyes and he himself will “tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty.”

I know Jesus as a tender, personal and intimate friend to whom I can pour out my heart and with whom I can laugh and be filled. I run into our Father’s arms for comfort and protection. I seek the Holy Spirit to guide me, teach me, advise me.

When I read passages about His power and fury and wrath, I wonder if I will be fearful of Him. I wonder if I have created an image of Him that is more in my own mind than it is reality. And I wonder if it’s like a child who experiences her father as very tender and loving at home while his enemies experience him as powerful and destructive on the battlefield.

The Bible depicts Jesus in many distinct, opposite ways:
The lion … and the lamb
The king of kings and lord of lords … and the suffering servant of all
Ruling with a steel rod … and taking care to not break the bruised reed.
He is creator & commander of great clashes of thunder, seas that roar, and quakes that level mountains … as well as fragile flowers, rainbows, and delicate flakes of frost.
God … and man

I think I do need to take care not to create a god in my own image. I can learn much about God by reading the Bible and believing He is everything it says He is, even when I find it fearful and I don’t fully understand what it means. And I also can trust what I know from my relationship with Him … He is indeed my intimate and tender friend, comforter, teacher.

And I think no matter how well I now Him and how close He draws me, I barely know Him at all. He is so much more than any man can fathom or dream.

While I think it’s good to ponder and wrestle with these things sometimes, I still laugh out loud when I think of the passage He gave me one time when I was demanding an answer:

What is too sublime for you, seek not.
Into things beyond your strength, search not.
What is committed to you, attend to;
for what is hidden is not your concern. (Sirach 4:20-22)

¹He and I by Gabrielle Bossis
²Revelation 19:11-16

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Very often it is something in nature that calms my soul and makes it rejoice in our Creator … a beautiful sunrise, the moon and stars at night, a gentle snowfall, beautiful frost-laden branches, a seascape or mountain range.

I think that’s why I love this chapter in Sirach so much … it mentions all of those and more. It celebrates the artistry of the world around us. I sometimes find a quiet place to just read and re-read this chapter, and I’d simply like to share it with any readers here.

Sir 43:1  The clear vault of the sky shines forth like heaven itself, a vision of glory.
Sir 43:2  The orb of the sun, resplendent at its rising: what a wonderful work of the Most High!
Sir 43:3  At noon it seethes the surface of the earth, and who can bear its fiery heat?
Sir 43:4  Like a blazing furnace of solid metal, it sets the mountains aflame with its rays; By its fiery darts the land is consumed; the eyes are dazzled by its light.
Sir 43:5  Great indeed is the LORD who made it, at whose orders it urges on its steeds.
Sir 43:6  The moon, too, that marks the changing times, governing the seasons, their lasting sign,
Sir 43:7  By which we know the feast days and fixed dates, this light-giver which wanes in its course:
Sir 43:8  As its name says, each month it renews itself; how wondrous in this change!
Sir 43:9  The beauty, the glory, of the heavens are the stars that adorn with their sparkling the heights of God,
Sir 43:10  At whose command they keep their place and never relax in their vigils. A weapon against the flood waters stored on high, lighting up the firmament by its brilliance,
Sir 43:11  Behold the rainbow! Then bless its Maker, for majestic indeed is its splendor;
Sir 43:12  It spans the heavens with its glory, this bow bent by the mighty hand of God.
Sir 43:13  His rebuke marks out the path for the lightning, and speeds the arrows of his judgment to their goal.
Sir 43:14  At it the storehouse is opened, and like vultures the clouds hurry forth.
Sir 43:15  In his majesty he gives the storm its power and breaks off the hailstones.
Sir 43:16  The thunder of his voice makes the earth writhe; before his might the mountains quake.
Sir 43:17  A word from him drives on the south wind, the angry north wind, the hurricane and the storm.
Sir 43:18  He sprinkles the snow like fluttering birds; it comes to settle like swarms of locusts.
Sir 43:19  Its shining whiteness blinds the eyes, the mind is baffled by its steady fall.
Sir 43:20  He scatters frost like so much salt; it shines like blossoms on the thornbush.
Sir 43:21  Cold northern blasts he sends that turn the ponds to lumps of ice. He freezes over every body of water, and clothes each pool with a coat of mail.
Sir 43:22  When the mountain growth is scorched with heat, and the flowering plains as though by flames,
Sir 43:23  The dripping clouds restore them all, and the scattered dew enriches the parched land.
Sir 43:24  His is the plan that calms the deep, and plants the islands in the sea.
Sir 43:25  Those who go down to the sea tell part of its story, and when we hear them we are thunderstruck;
Sir 43:26  In it are his creatures, stupendous, amazing, all kinds of life, and the monsters of the deep.
Sir 43:27  For him each messenger succeeds, and at his bidding accomplishes his will.
Sir 43:28  More than this we need not add; let the last word be, he is all in all!
Sir 43:29  Let us praise him the more, since we cannot fathom him, for greater is he than all his works;
Sir 43:30  Awful indeed is the LORD’S majesty, and wonderful is his power.
Sir 43:31  Lift up your voices to glorify the LORD, though he is still beyond your power to praise;
Sir 43:32  Extol him with renewed strength, and weary not, though you cannot reach the end:
Sir 43:33  For who can see him and describe him? or who can praise him as he is?
Sir 43:34  Beyond these, many things lie hid; only a few of his works have we seen.
Sir 43:35  It is the LORD who has made all things, and to those who fear him he gives wisdom.

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