Greetings everyone. Rob here.

I hope that you’ve been enjoying David’s photo’s and quotes. They remind us that God’s creation speaks profoundly to us of his heart and his character. Our family recently returned from an epic 4 week trip around New Zealand’s majestic South Island. While I spent my childhood there, growing up under the shadow of the Southern Alps and the beauty of the glacier formed lakes, it was a new experience for my children, Mr 12 and Miss 10. Their reaction as we encountered the stunning turquoise of Lake Tekapo was one of wonder and delight. As it should be! What does it say about our God that he creates such soul-piercing beauty? What does it say about us when we’re so distracted or hard-hearted that we fail to appreciate such glory?

What we fail to appreciate is that such beauty is the natural order of things. It is what we were made to experience. It affects the soul because it echoes the eternity set in our hearts. We are not made for dreary concrete landscapes or polluted air or damaged soil where nothing grows. We are made for beauty and we are constantly invited into it. However, we can’t all live by the mountains or the ocean or glorious lakes. We can, though, all ask God to open the eyes of our heart so we can see the beauty all around us.

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It was definitely hard to return to Hamilton’s fairly flat landscape, its muddy lakes and its stifling heat. We have had to escape to the beach more than once! But the trees are lovely, our parks are pleasant and a mighty river runs through us. The landscape is gentle, subtle and the beach isn’t that far away! I have needed to remind myself of this: The beauty enters when we take the time to gaze.

In the South Island you would gaze at epic vistas. In Hamilton it pays to gaze at the particular; the old and grand Eucalyptus tree in the local park, the way the suns hits a particular spot on the river, the juicy tastiness of the Louisa plums from our tree. By focusing on the particular it reminds you God shapes things, how he’s in the detail and how intimately he dwells with his creation. He is with us even more intimately, asking us to pay attention to him and see his work and presence in our lives. We need to look beyond the beauty to the source of it all. God creates beauty because God is beautiful.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. he has planted eternity in the human heart… (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

He is the God of the mountains and the God of the wildflower. He is the God of great majesty and the God who gives breath to the tiniest of creatures. He is the God of every human life and the God of this particular moment. He is beautiful. May we gaze on him and may our hearts be filled with wonder, worship and gratefulness.

Grace and peace.

 

 

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