I spotted this on my morning walk: our newborn giraffe having his early morning breakfast, just one of the glorious sights of flora and fauna this morning.
I am blessed to live within walking distance of the Living Desert, a botanical garden and wild animal preserve. My husband and I are members (plus he volunteers as a docent), so we can get in an hour or so before it’s open to the public. This morning I took my camera along and captured a wee bit of the early morning magic of this beautiful place. I’ve found many meditation gardens tucked in out of the way places. With their dappled sunlight, small concrete benches, and fragrant desert foliage, they’re the perfect settings for a quiet time of prayer. This morning, I read this Psalm . . .
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your rivers of delight.
For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT
. . . and I raised my eyes to the heavens, marveling at their expanse — and compared them to God’s unfailing love, which reaches far beyond them. The rugged mountains in the background, solid and sure, immovable, a reminder of God’s righteousness. I considered the words “you care for people and animals alike, O Lord” as I studied the animals (from the goofy, awkward ostrich to the African crowned crane – who dances when people come near – from the feisty meerkats to the old and stately mountain lion).
What a Creator we belong to! It doesn’t matter to me how long it took him to bring our earth and its glorious animals into being; it doesn’t matter how he set the whole thing in motion. All that matters to me is that I can catch a glimpse of my Creator’s heart (and often his sense of humor!) by observing his creation.
When I was a child, my imagination took wing when I read Psalm 98:
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
Break out in praise and sing for joy!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! (I especially loved this one.)
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord.
Psalm 98:4,7-8 NL
This morning, I was sure I heard the hills sing out with joy — and if there had been a river nearby, I know I would have heard it clap its hands in glee. It all fits! In Luke 19, Jesus said if we don’t lift our voices in praise, the very stones will cry out. His creation can’t help but lift its voice in praise. Can I, daughter of Eve, do less?