Sermon quotes on nature
Ambrose of Milan
The world is an example of the workings of God, because while we observe the work, the Worker is brought before us.
The Six Days of Creation, Book 1.17, Chapter 5. In Fathers of the Church, Vol. 42, CUA Press, 2010, p. 16.
The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.
There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.
Quoted in William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait (Oxford, 1988), pages 134-135.
Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits to be marred or ruined by neglect. Moreover, that this economy, and this diligence, with respect to those good things which God has given us to enjoy, may flourish among us; let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved.
Commentary on Genesis, 1554.
The custody of the garden was given in charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with the frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain … let everyone regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses.
Commentary on Genesis, 1554.
We say that Nature rests, yet she is working like mad. She has only shut up shop and pulled the shutters down; but behind them she is unpacking new goods, and the shelves are becoming so full that they bend under the load. This is the real spring; what is not done now will not be done in April.
The Gardener’s Year (New York: Modern Library, 2002), 116.
George Washington Carver
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
We have this very solid conclusion that the universe had an origin, the Big Bang. Fifteen billion years ago, the universe began with an unimaginably bright flash of energy from an infinitesimally small point. That implies that before that, there was nothing. I can’t imagine how nature, in this case the universe, could have created itself. And the very fact that the universe had a beginning implies that someone was able to begin it. And it seems to me that had to be outside of nature.
Article: Steve Paulson, “The Believer,” Salon (Accessed April 19, 2021)
There is no escaping the need to manage nature. The best we can do is to observe the following rule: So manage nature as to minimize the need to manage nature. . . . We are destined to work our way across the globe, turning Eden into something else. And we are destined – in our better moments – to protect Eden against our own work. The command to protect puts upper limits on the scope of our work and lower limits on its quality. In other words, we must not try to manage too much of the world, but what we do manage – our cities, our factories, our farms – we must manage well.
The Ecology of Eden (New York: Knopf, 1998), 288–89.
A wrong attitude toward nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude toward God.
Christianity and Culture”, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, p.57.
“He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before—this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free. . . . All was a-shake and a-shiver—glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.”
The Wind in the Willows
John of Damascus
The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God.
Corrie Ten Boom
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts”
The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine
From of old the church has pointed to nature and to the Bible as the sources of knowledge of God … the Reformed confession truly and beautifully declares that all creation is as a living book, the letters of which are the creatures … God himself is behind nature … In everything that lives in nature, rustles, throbs and stirs itself, we feel the pulse beat of God’s own life … In nature also everything is for the sake of religion, to reveal to us in it the glorious presence of God, to bring us the fostering sense that in nature everywhere the living and almighty God is with us on every side, and to fill us with the sublime impression of his Power, Divinity and Majesty.
To Be Near Unto God
The thing to do with nature … is to listen to it, and watch it, and look deep into its eyes in a sense, as though you were listening to and watching a friend, not just hearing the words or even just watching the gestures but trying to guess, or get a sense, or share the spirit underneath it, trying to listen (if this isn’t too fancy) to the silence under the sound and trying to get an idea (not starting with any preconceived formulation) of what kind of silence it is.
Letter by Bob Lax to Jubilee magazine staff, quoted by Jim Harford in his book Merton and Friends; New York: Continuum, 2006, p 105-6.
Ursula K. Le Guin
“If you see a thing whole-it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…But up close a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life is a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance…The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”
Now if I believe in God’s Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. …God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
We cannot find God in noise or agitation. Nature: trees, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, the sun move in silence.
God is the Friend of Silence. See How Nature … Trees, Flowers, Grass… Grow in Silence.
It would go a long way to caution and direct people in their use of the world that they would better studied and known in the creation of it. For how could man find the confidence to abuse it, while they should see the Great Creator stare them in the face, in all and every part thereof?
Fruits of Solitude
Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
Everything in the universe is all jumbled together. So God begins to do some creative separating: he separates light from darkness, day from night, water from land, the sea creatures from the land cruisers. God orders things into place by sorting and separating them. At the same time God binds things together: he binds humans to the rest of creation as stewards and caretakers of it, to himself as bearers of his image, and to each other as perfect complements—a matched pair of male and female persons who fit together and whose fitting harmony itself images God.
Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, Eerdmans Publishing Company
A study in Berlin even found that the part of the brain that processes fear and stress (the amygdala) was healthier in people who lived within a kilometre of a forest. To help soothe your spirits and promote feelings of happiness, take a forest bath…
How to be Content: An inspired guide to happiness White Lion Publishing, 2018, p. 38.
Hans Urs von Balthasar
The meaning of creation remains unexplainable so long as the veil covers the eternal Image.This life would be nothing but destiny, this time only sorrow, all love but decay, if the pulse of Being did not throb in the eternal, triune Life.
There is an integrity to creation that depends on humans seeing themselves as properly placed within a network of creation and God. The drama shows us that neither God nor the creation itself can tolerate violence, manipulation, or shame. Instead of the hubris that characterized Adam and his descendents, Noah stands out as a beacon of the humbled adam who is faithful to the needs of adamah.
The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 34.
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