TOWARDS THE END OF LAST YEAR, I started reading the engaging book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene H. Peterson. I would like to share an interesting part from one of its chapters, “Christ Plays in Creation”.
In it, Peterson related that a few years ago he had a student who lived some distance from college and had to commute by bus from home every morning. As he left the house, he told his wife that he was going to immerse himself in God’s creation. He said the same on the second day, but when he did it again on the third day, his wife felt it necessary to remind him that he was supposed to be going to school; two days spent relaxing in the woods or by the sea was enough.
The student replied that he had been attending classes. His wife then asked what he meant by immersing himself in God’s creation. He explained that each day he spent forty minutes per trip on the bus commute between home and college, and the bus was filled with men and women created by God in His own image. He could not be more surrounded by God’s creation.
I found this meaningful anecdote interesting. We often allow normalcy to obscure God’s creation and are blind to His masterpieces right before our eyes. We think that God’s craftsmanship is displayed in lofty mountains, wide oceans, and magnificent forests, or even in beautiful little flowers. What about our spouses – the wife or the husband with bad breath and who snores?
Our interaction with people and things encountered daily is often influenced by the relationship that exists. Our regard for them can be affected by a whole spectrum of emotions and feelings.
This is perhaps the reason why we naturally tend to select distant objects which are unrelated to us for admiration as God’s masterpieces. This is human nature, one that is flawed and in need of repentance and transformation.
Jesus Christ became man and lived among us. He taught us to see God’s creation and God’s love in ordinary things – the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, rain and sunshine.
He also taught us how to look at people around us as God’s creations.
Jesus had compassion for them and offered Himself as the sacrifice for their sins and sinful nature. And before He breathed His last, He prayed to God, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
In this new year, let us give thanks always for God’s creations that surround us each day, and remember to treat them with kindness.
Treat them just as you would be kind to adorable kittens, pet dogs, pretty flowers, or colourful tropical fish. The fact is, God’s supreme creations are the people whom you meet each day.
The Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung is the President of the Chinese Annual Conference.