Sacramental Nature

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

A sacrament is a means of giving and receiving grace, a way of drawing closer to God. Various denominations of Christians differ on the details and rites and rituals, but we can all agree with the psalmist who said that the creation itself bears witness to the Creator. We see His grace in nature. Nature is sacramental.

As I was driving to work recently, the dawn sun reflected in hues of blue, red, and gold off the light clouds. I slowed down in my neighborhood for a few moments to take it in. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to God for this beautiful reminder of His presence, beauty and perfection. I didn't just see a sun rise, I saw God's handiwork.

After the recent time change I drive to work in the dark. Venus is high in the eastern sky, so bright you can't miss it. A lovely, literally other-worldly celestial diamond. It's just the ting the psalmist had in mind with "night to night declares knowledge."

And as this is the first GraceWaves of Spring, I want to remind you of the brilliance that is bursting forth around you. The flowers and trees awaken from their winter slumber. My backyard grows that early, spring-green canopy, and the flowering Bradford Pears drop their blossoms in a snowfall.

The familiar hymn This Is My Father's World states it best, "All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres." Nature by night and day remind us of God's beauty and His endlessly creative life.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “Nature to a saint is sacramental. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in Nature. In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky. In every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.” (My Utmost, February 10).

You always find what you are looking for in life, and if you cultivate the spiritual discipline of looking for God’s grace you will find it woven into the fabric of nature, as well as in the lives of people around you. Always. Remember to “see” this week, and let God remind you of His presence and grace.

Dr. Terry Ellis

March 23, 2013