Friday, January 18, 2008

Nature Poetry

As the hart panteth after the water brooks,so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:when shall I come and appear before God?"
David from Psalm 42:1-2

I love nature poetry and nature books. Often I read books by Edwin Way Teale in the winter, when I can't get outside much for my "nature fix". Nature poetry was addressed in my devotional reading today. A.W. Tozer highlighted King David, arguably the greatest nature poet of all time. Here is what I read:

"David was acutely God-conscious. To him God was the one
Being worth knowing. Where others saw nature, he saw God. He was a
nature poet indeed, but he saw God first and loved nature for God's sake.
Wordsworth reversed the order and, while he is great, he is not worthy to untie
the shoelaces of the man David."
A.W. Tozer, from the book
The Warfare of the Spirit

I think Tozer has a point; the sense of awe that is typically expressed in nature poetry can be confused with worship. Anyone can feel awe when they view a gorgeous sunset or see a rainbow, but that feeling does not necessarily constitute worship. To see God first and love nature for His sake is a different matter entirely.

Viewing creation in connection to the Creator is like tracing the sun ray back to the sun. Nature observations can increase our understanding of the One who has made it possible for our very lives to be His "poiema", His poetry. Just maybe, the nature poetry that humankind so universally enjoys strikes a chord within us because we ARE poetry--whether lovely or crass. Lord, make my life a poem that honors You.

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