Saturday, September 02 2006
"The laws of nature, as applied to stones or trees, may only mean 'what Nature, in fact, does'. But if you turn to the Law of Human Nature, the Law of Decent Behaviour, it is a different matter. That law certainly does not mean 'what human beings, in fact, do'; for as I said before, many of them do not obey this law at all, and none of them obey it completely. The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the Law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not." Mere Christianity
Have you ever had the experience of looking at a tree, or a stone for that matter, and being impressed by its beauty and perfection? I have certainly felt that . . . and more. When looking at certain parts of God's creation I have felt that those parts are exactly what they should be . . . and by contrast I have realized that I am not. In fact, the only imperfection in creation, outside of humanity, seems to be that imperfection wrought by humanity. Thus, not only does creation tell forth the glory of God, it also reminds us of the fallen glory of humanity.
This explains the movement of the 19th Psalm from: "The heavens declare the glory of God" to "The law of the Lord is perfect" to "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults."
Perhaps the next time you are out under the stars, or sitting beside a babbling brook, or listening to the whispering of the wind in a tree, the following prayer would not be inappropriate:
Almighty and most merciful Father, I have erred and strayed from your ways like a lost sheep. I have followed too much the devices and desires of my own heart. I have offended against your holy laws. I have left undone those things which I ought to have done; and I have done those things which I ought not to have done; and there is no health in me. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon me, miserable offender that I am. Spare me, O God, as I confess my faults. Restore me, for I am penitent, according to your promises declared unto humanity in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for Jesus' sake, that I may hereafter live a life of beauty and perfection, more like this tree which obeys you without thinking, to the glory of your holy name. Amen. (Adapted from The Book of Common Worship)