GOD AND NATURE
“Nature in all its forms has a special way of reminding us about God.”
AT OUR WORSHIP SERVICES, we often sing these lines: “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all.” ey are from that beautiful hymn by Cecil Alexander, “All ings Bright and Beautiful”, which praises God for His creation.
It is a hymn for God’s children who truly delight and rejoice in the beauty of nature, to sing spontaneously in the sight of true beauty.
The hymn-writer must have been inspired by the words found in Psalm 19:1. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”
Perhaps, with these thoughts in mind, he looked at all creation and declared his thanks to God the Creator.
Nature in all its forms – plants, trees, flowers, hills and mountains, lakes, rivers, seas and oceans, creatures of land and sea – has a special way of reminding us about God. Firstly, all that natural beauty gladdens our soul. is in turn helps us appreciate the things around us as we see them through the eyes of the Creator.
Secondly, nature is often associated with serenity which likewise draws us to the Creator, the Giver of peace and joy, and the gift of grace for each day. For these we give thanks to God.
There are also object lessons for us to learn about the Creator God. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? … And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in his entire splendour was dressed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:26, 28-29.
We are constantly seeking security in material possessions which we consider our source of survival. However, Jesus Christ points us to the very source of life who is our Heavenly Father. It is not survival that we should seek but a secure life in Christ Jesus; a life that will radiate the beauty of God Himself and give Him thanks for peace and love.
It is a pity that in this “green city” of ours we hardly pause to gaze at the beauty of nature; to see God as the greatest artist-painter and landscaper. Perhaps, even if we do appreciate the beauty around us, we only see the creative work of human hands in buildings and parks.
How beautiful it would be to have an experience of the psalmist, to walk through God’s natural creation and to stand in awe before His glory. It would bring us to worship the Creator, Provider and Protector of all things bright and beautiful, reminding us of His Faithfulness.
Let us take time to spend a few precious minutes in the midst of nature with the desire to see and thank God for His beautiful creation.
The Rev James Nagulan is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference.
What the church is not
NO ONE WILL DENY that the Bible talks about a church.
But whose church? Which church? What church?
Let us begin by pointing out what it is not. e church as described in the Bible is not Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. It is not denominational, inter-denominational, or sectarian. It is not a political organisation, just another social organisation, and neither is it a material meeting house.
The majority of people do not understand the church because they do not know what it is. Consequently, they do not understand the purpose of it, the importance of it, or the work of it.
But the Bible plainly tells us what it is. e word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which means “the called out”. So the church is a called out body of people, those who have been called out of the world into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13).
It is the spiritual body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), made up of those who have obeyed Christ (Hebrews 5:8,9), and therefore saved by Him and added to His church (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:47). Another way of putting it, the church consists of the followers of Christ.
The word church appears in the Bible in two senses.
First, it is spoken of in the universal sense. is is what Christ had in mind when he said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
There are many other verses where the word church is used in the same way, speaking of the church in a universal sense. at is, wherever the church may be found in the world, if it is the Bible church, it is that church which Jesus said He would build.
Second, it is spoken of in the local sense. For instance, when Paul was writing to the church at Rome, and speaking of the various congregations, he said: “ The churches of Christ greet you”
(Romans 16:16). He was not speaking of a number of churches, in the sense of denominations, but rather a number of local congregations of the Lord’s church. – KneEmail.
J. C. Choate contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.