A Natural Faith
God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds—and I think that he made them partly as a balance for that kind of civilization that would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts. He made the great open places for the people who want to be alone with him and talk to him, away from the crowds that kill all reverence. And I think that he is glad at times to have us forget our cares and responsibilities that we may be nearer him—as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
—Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.
The universe is but one vast symbol of God.
The world is God’s epistle to mankind. His thoughts are flashing upon us from every direction.
The world is the first Bible that God made for the instruction of man.
—Clement of Alexandria
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
—George Washington Carver
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
The Bible is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it. Passages that within walls seem improbable or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. That is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air, and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances, will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine—which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.
Nature is the art of God.
Man is wise and constantly in quest of more wisdom; but the ultimate wisdom, which deals with beginnings, remains locked in a seed. There it lies, the simplest fact of the universe and at the same time the one which calls forth faith rather than reason.
Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
The works of God above, below,
Within us and around,
Are pages in that book, to show
How God himself is found.
I’ve always regarded nature as the clothing of God.
Love all God’s creation, the whole of it, love every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. And once you have perceived it, you will be able to comprehend it ceaselessly more and more every day.
Every flower of the field, every fiber of a plant, every particle of an insect, carries with it the impress of its Maker, and can—if duly considered—read us lectures on ethics or divinity.
—Thomas Pope Blount
The more I study nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator.
“What is this God?” I asked the earth, and it answered, “I am not He,” and all things that are in the earth made the same confession. I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping things, and they answered, “We are not your God; seek higher.”
I asked the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, and they answered, “Neither are we the God whom you seek.” And I said to all the things that throng about the gateways of the senses, “Tell me something of Him.” And they cried out in a great voice, “He made us.” My questions were my gazing upon them, and their answer was their beauty. I asked the whole frame of the universe about my God and it answered me, “I am not He, but He made me.”
—Saint Augustine of Hippo
God our heavenly Father, You created the world to serve humanity’s needs and to lead them to You. By our own fault we have lost the beautiful relationship which we once had with all Your creation. Help us to see that by restoring our relationship with You we will also restore it with all Your creation. Amen.
—Saint Francis of Assisi
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