Sitting at the bar on the deck at Joe’s Crab shack right on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida, twice last weekend, once for dinner of shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp and once for a glass of wine at sunset, I marveled at how wonderful it felt to have the wind blowing through my hair, the ocean in full view and the warmth of the evening embracing me. I need to be outside everyday instead of holed up in my house where I work or in my car going to yet another building to enter. Nature is grace. Fresh air heals. Beauty stirs my soul.
Of course God is everywhere—when I sit in the mornings in the presence of God, when I interact with people at the deepest level, when I am writing this blog, when I am cleaning my house, when I am in the garden. Yet God seems most visible to me when I am surrounded by his creation. There his presence is most obvious and accessible: in the black-headed gulls of Jacksonville, in the sheer variety of the color green in the landscape from the darkest black green to olive greens, to blue greens and in every shade imaginable, in the cardinal and nuthatch at my bird-feeder, in the creek nearby my house surrounded by a left-to-nature greenway, in the moon rise and in the star-filled night.
In a thousand million ways nature is always a reminder of the Creator of all this beauty, interconnectedness, grace, complexity, vision, meticulous planning which created such a vast and complete system(earth) that is self-sustaining with the assistance of our sun and yet a minute part of a huge and unexplored universe that may be only one of many universes as the cosmologists are beginning to postulate.
How can we possibly say that we know God? How can we begin to wrap our minds around the enormity of what God has created and what God must be to have created what is? We have some records of God’s interaction with our human forefathers and foremothers—the Bible. We each have our own experience of God if we are open to that experience. But beyond these two bodies of knowledge is the mysterious divine being who is beyond the reach of our words to describe, who is as close as our heart-beat and as far away as the farthest star from our sun, who is hidden in the glittering galaxies and in the unseen, unfathomable void.
It seems the height of arrogance to me to claim that I or anyone else knows the mind of God, the totality of this being in which I believe the whole universe(s) resides. For me it is enough to know that God is, that I can experience the presence of God in my life, that I can feel loved by God, that I feel connected to nature and other people through God. Is it possible that God is the woof and warp of our lives, connecting all life through the unseen web of existence? I don’t know for sure, yet the possibility gladdens my heart.