Tag Archives: God’s Grandeur

Meditation on The Goodness of Creation

Cedar Campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the best places to hear the heartbeat of God's creation. Author's photo.
Cedar Campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the best places to hear the heartbeat of God’s creation. Author’s photo.

I grew up in a wee church in rural Wisconsin, and one of the community grandmother figures to me was Sara Smith.  I know I have a good friend in Sara, because today she sent me a card in the mail and included a little bulletin that she thought I would enjoy.  It’s from the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in St. Paul, and seems like an ordinary worship bulletin.  But I’m amazed at Continue reading

Reviving a Sense of Wonder

The first of Andrea Ebley’s monthly posts on the blog.  

IMG_3877wonder n : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Children embody the definition of wonder, a sense that inspires curiosity and investigation, and fosters delight. How often do you see a child running to catch falling leaves or jumping from curb to puddle, completely absorbed in his actions and oblivious to all else? How often do you see a full-grown adult doing those same things? Continue reading

Notes from a volcanic eruption in Iceland

Guest post by Bob White on the Holuhraun Eruption, Iceland, September 2014.  Cross-posted from the Science and Belief blog.

Robert (Bob) White, FRS is Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge University and Director of The Faraday Institute. He has recently published a book on Natural Disasters called Who is to Blame?
Nature, Disasters and Acts of God, (Oxford: Lion Hudson), 207 pp. ISBN 978-0-85721-4737

Picture: Einar Rafnsson/RUV. Click for source.

We arrived at the eruption site around midnight on 1st September 2014. We were fortunate to be there because it is in a 10,000 square kilometre exclusion zone in the interior of Iceland due to the danger of volcanic gases, floods and ash plumes. As scientists monitoring earthquakes caused by the eruption my team and I were part of just a handful of people allowed in. We stood in the middle of a black volcanic desert 3,000 feet high. The darkness of the night was uninterrupted by any human lights. And we knew there was no-one else within at least 100 kilometres of us in any direction. Continue reading

Old Literature – but surprisingly relevant

Our environmental problems aren’t quite as new as we sometimes think they are.  Here, some lessons from an old, old poem:  (Originally published Jan 7, 2009)

A good friend, who doesn’t think himself an intellectual but who in fact is one of the best-read people in my life, sent me two different pieces over the last couple of months, both of which qualify as being old, if not ancient.  But which both speak volumes to our present environmental predicament:

Today, a poem that is at least 150 years old:

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

“the grandeur of God”

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge |&| shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

Continue reading

The Victory that is Easter

Every year I try to write an Easter-themed devotional. (See some previous posts here.)  Here are this year’s thoughts on the occasion of Holy Week.  This will be emailed to our newsletter list in a few days, but as many on this blog and on our Facebook pages don’t get the newsletter, here’s your copy early.  Enjoy – and let me know what you think in the comments.

It is the start of Holy Week.  We Christians of whatever label take time this week to remember and celebrate events that are at the heart of our faith:  A coronation march into an ancient city.  A sham trial.  A barbaric execution.  An unexpected finale with earthquakes, empty tombs, and wild rumors.  And finally, a dead man come to life.  Euphoria, despair, confusion, victory – all in one short week. Continue reading

So How Do You Pray about A Tsunami (and an earthquake) (and a nuclear melt-down)?

Oil Spills are bad enough – but how do you pray about a Tsunami?

It hasn’t been a year since the Gulf oil spill, which we rightly saw as the worst environmental disaster in memory.  At that time I wrote a piece trying to come to terms with that situation: “How Do You Pray about an Oil Spill?” And now I sit pondering a disaster that could turn out to be exponentially greater than the BP/Halliburton fiasco.  I am doing so at my dining room table, in a part of the world that is seismically if not politically stable, many miles from the nearest nuclear facility.  I am looking out at a landscape where the first birds of spring have arrived and are singing up a storm: Robins, redwing blackbirds, a cedar waxwing and (I think) a pine warbler (see pic below and tell me if I’m right, birders!)  just this morning.  The contrast between my window and the stories on my computer screen could not be more different, and I am forced to ask the same question I asked last summer: How do I pray about what is now happening in Japan? Continue reading