Several years ago, while still one of those Sunday in, Sunday out preachers, I decided that each year I would completely dedicate at least one of my morning sermons to the biblical doctrine of Creation.
This was a bit of a surprise to me. For one thing, I’m not the outdoorsy type. I think that’s mainly because I’m way too wimpy, and never saw the connection between sleeping on the ground and fun.
Then there’s the fact that I grew up in Southwest Oklahoma. And with all of its wind and drought and hail, that place had never taught me much about growing things. My dad, who spent his wonder years on his grandparents’ farm in Iowa, had a hard time adapting to that part of our lives in Altus, a place that I love by the way.
So how had I come to my decision? I think it was mainly from my growing :-) appreciation that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And then, he shaped them and filled them with all sorts of delightful creatures and beautiful plants . . . I woke up to that. Of course, it probably helped that at the time I was living in Connecticut. What a beautiful place.
However it happened, something just clicked and all of a sudden, I “got” songs like Psalm 104 and “This is My Father’s World” and “Day is Dying in the West.” Ever since, one of my favorite things to pray has been the second verse from "Father of Mercies":
Father of mercies, God of love,
Whose gentle gifts all creatures share,
The rolling seasons as they move
Proclaim to all Thy constant care,
Proclaim to all Thy constant care.
At the time I had my "conversion" I was also studying passages like Romans 8:18-25, where Paul goes out of his way to insist that the scope of God’s redemptive plan is cosmic, that all dogs do go to heaven as it were.
Then, and on top of all that, I was getting tired of my congregation hearing about our Father’s world from no one besides Rush Limbaugh and his rants on environmental issues. How much of that could they take and still think Christianly about flowers and grass and trees?
So I decided to do what I could; to say out loud what I had heard in a whisper.
Next time or two, I’ll talk about some passages and maybe mention a book that helped me along the way. But before then, I want to take a long walk.