First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Drawing Near

November 30, 2016

I'm a hunter. Okay, I actually care a great deal about my gun and regularly take it for walks in the woods. It doesn't seem to mind the rain, cold, and snow. It especially appreciates the warm sunny days. Gone are the days when I would toss and turn the night before opening day. Now, I am absolutely at peace just being in the woods. If I see wildlife, that's good. If I get a shot at an eligible antlered deer, that's better. If I am successful in harvesting a deer to manage the herd, that's icing on the cake.

    My heart rests and is soothed by the wide open fields and dense hemlocks. My heart is overjoyed when the sun warms my body as I lean against a giant oak tree. To hear chickadees chatter, to see crows gliding overhead, and to watch the squirrel busily foraging for food all resonate deeply within me. The diversity in the great outdoors is amazing. I happened upon a small porcupine the other day.

 As I approached the critter, I expected it to face me, identify a threat, then turn around to display its quills. It never did any of those things. It walked around me nosing in the grass and leaves looking for food. It approached me and I took a step backward. The simplicity of the moment was magical. 

It's in moments like this that I sense the holiness of creation. I learn a little bit more about God's heart and gain more appreciation for the things placed on this earth for our enjoyment and sustenance.

        "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have

        set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You

        made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made

        him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and

        the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the

        seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9, NIV)

How do you interact with nature. Is it one of those things you might take for granted? Is nature fine with you as long as you don't need to be near it? Or, do you find ways to be in nature, enjoying God's creativity, and sense the holiness of a each crunching step through fallen leaves? Take a moment today or soon to walk on a trail or frequent a State Park to use their user friendly facilities and embrace a God who creates the deer to feed alongside the porcupine. Inhale deeply and allow your heart to be calmed and soothed. Maybe that was God's idea that nature would bring us closer to Him.

        "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—

        have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without

        excuse."   (Romans 1:20, NIV)

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