I don?t know about your world,
but in mine, as currently arranged,
there is always something to be done
for instance, peace
In the Middle East or mop
the kitchen floor or prayer
the first highly improbable
the second indefinitely delayable
the third imponderable
I don?t know about you,
but I devote big chunks
of worry-time to the impossible
delayable and imponderable.
That?s why you find me lying
in the hammock this morning
being schooled by chickadees
as they flit about in their flighty
elegant and achievable task
just being alive
-- Charles M. Harper
Today, the forecast is for a high temperature of 68 degrees and brilliant fall sunshine. After a long, hot summer and some warm fall days, the cool will be mighty refreshing. Put the paper down as soon as you can and spend the rest of the day outside. Put a mum in a pot, plant some pansies, or pick up sticks. Visit the wonderful Grace Street Park on the weekend of its grand opening. Catch a fish, play football with a kid, or hike Parson?s Mountain. It is a perfect day to emerge from the air-conditioned interior and into the wonder of God?s creation. On a day like this, nature stands before us as an open book, testifying to the goodness of God and God?s care for us.
Christian theology recognizes Scripture as the primary means by which God reveals himself to us. The Bible is the first book, a faithful remembrance of the relationship between Creator and creatures, particularly those made in God?s image, the creature we call a human being. We affirm in my tradition that the Scriptures contain ?all things necessary to salvation.? Reading and knowing them is a spiritual and intellectual delight, for they take us into the life that really is life, life with God. If the Bible has not been open to you lately, find a way into it, to see things as they really are.
And then you can open the book of creation with new eyes, as a day like today invites. When we have learned from the Bible who God is, what a human being is for, and the length and depth of divine love, we see the world differently. Crisp air, blue skies, and fall color are not just the natural gifts of the season. They are signs of the one who is in and beyond all things, a God of grace and beauty who has put all this into our care. The child we encounter at the park, the man we meet on the trail, they come alive to us in new ways as well, as those made in the image of God and made new in Christ. The first book, the Bible, makes us better readers of the second, the creation that we experience in its dying glory as autumn advances.
And if the first and second books of God?s revelation remain open to you, your life will be wonderfully different. Knowing God and yourself as you both truly are, your care for this world will be deeper. You will work, give, and vote with the needs of a wider community before you, the needs of a whole world that God so loves. Your Bible reading will spur you toward newspaper reading, library visiting, and the wisdom that comes from seeing the moon rise. Eyes and ears opened by the Word will be open to the divine voice that speaks also in the sound of wind in a stand of pines and in the cry of those who suffer among us.
Life will seem easier, some think, with the books closed. Forget the Bible, sit on the couch, feast on the screen. That is a slow death, for individuals and for a people. The life that really is life waits for those who open the first and second books of God?s revelation. Today is a perfect day to crack them again.
Nicholas Beasley is rector at Resurrection Episcopal in Greenwood. He can be reached at 864-223-5426.