Fall is truly one of my favorite times of the year. The weather is turning cooler, the rains make the grass greener, the leaves turn multi-colored and brilliant.
A friend and I took a color tour this past Saturday, heading east and north to hopefully catch the peak of the fall color. It is hard to even describe the beauty of the reds, oranges and golds that greeted us over every hill and around every turn.
And then on Sunday, my church choir’s anthem was “This is My Father’s World,” and I was reminded that it is our loving Creator who wields his paintbrush to design a landscape to reflect both God’s wisdom in establishing the seasons and God’s power and love for us in making the world for our enjoyment.
This is my Father’s world, And to my list’ning ears All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world: The birds their carols raise,The morning light, the lily white,Declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
Likewise, in Isaiah 45, verse 12, God tells us:
It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.
Yes! God is in the music of the birds, the colors and textures of the rocks and trees, the morning light, the brilliance of the lilies, the blue of the sky and the waters, the heavens and the stars. How grateful we should be. May we silence ourselves to see and hear God pass by in the sights and sounds of nature around us.
But the words of our anthem also reminded me that even as we enjoy and celebrate the wonders of God’s creation, the world around us frequently struggles, and we might ask, where is God in these things? From the hymn:
This is my Father’s world: Oh, let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
“Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other,” says Luke 21:10-11. There will be great earthquakes, and in many places people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky. Strange things will happen to the sun, moon and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won’t know what to do.” We see these things in our own times – the wars, the natural disasters, the famines and pandemics, the changes in our climate — and we are often afraid and concerned for the future, but as it says in Isaiah 45:6-7: “So that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting, people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness. I bring prosperity and create disaster. I, the Lord, do all these things.”
And so, we rejoice, knowing that God is in control of the beauty of nature and its calamities, that God is in control of the wonders around us and the conflicts that alarm us. And we pray: God, you are all-powerful and we thank you for creating the natural world for us to enjoy. It is your world, and we know that you are in each part of it. We thank you that you govern the heavens above us and the earth on which we live. May we never forget that you are “the ruler yet” and that nothing happens in our lives, but that you know all about it and are present in it. Thank you always for your goodness and grace. Amen.