We have all experienced one of the most interesting, challenging, life changing years in our history. Not only have we been cut off from our families and friends, we’ve been asked to honor this holiday season by being kind to our fellow men and staying away from them. This goes against the grain of many, but isn’t it what Christmas represents?
When Jesus gave up His throne in heaven, He didn’t ask why. He did so with a willing heart and a forgiving spirit. He was more than eager to make the ultimate sacrifice because of His love for humanity.
Men have marveled for centuries over the bounty of beautiful places within our borders. The mountain men of old, explorers, adventurers, men of industry all had a part in the development of our National Parks, but God was the Originator, Designer and Craftsman, Creator of all of it. How anyone cannot see that it took one of superior intelligence, wisdom, genius, engineering and artistic ability to put it in place? Imagine how amazing it was before sin came into play.
John Muir spent the greater part of his life exploring the wilderness. Raised in a strict religious family, with a preacher father that demanded him to memorize the entire Bible, may have led him to look for a different lifestyle. Maybe it was a rebellious spirit that drove him to the great outdoors. Besides I think God can even use a rebellious spirit to bring us the truth.
Listening to the voice of God as it roars in a raging waterfall, hearing the birds chirping the dawn of a new day, standing on the edge of a deep canyon or mountain and feeling God’s presence in the wind, rain and sunshine – these are all things that bring us closer to Him.
Now, here comes the “but” to the whole “making nature your house of worship” ideology. I get it that we live in an ugly world and to escape to natural places is healing, but it’s just a temporary fix. Hugging a tree isn’t going to wash away our sins, unless that tree is the cross. Dipping our toes in an icy stream won’t bring support and encouragement from fellow Christians. We still have to face the day to day drudgery of living.
We are currently worshipping in a completely new way. We have been somewhat restricted from attending our houses of worship, but it is just for a little while. If we had a forty year time in the wilderness ahead of us, would we moan and groan even more? Of course we would.
We can find a place to worship anywhere. The quietest prayers are always heard. The smallest closet can be as effective as a huge tabernacle. Peaceful moments in nature can salve an injured spirit, but the true healing comes from God’s own words to us in the Bible. Open it. Read it. Ear mark the pages and make notes in the margins. Ransack it. It is food for life, no matter how it’s served.