Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, January 24

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork.
—Psalm 19:1

In his book Beyond Words, theologian Frederick Buechner writes, “To behold God’s glory, to sense God’s style, is the closest you can get to God this side of paradise, just as to read King Lear is the closest you can get to Shakespeare.” 

One November day, undoubtedly by the grace of God, I beheld some of God’s handiwork, God’s glory, in a walk in the woods. My husband and I have a small farm outside of the city where we live; it is not a working farm, just basically a get-away. Every weekend we spend time walking through the woods that surround our house. 

This was one of those days that " declare the glory of God": baby blue sky, startling sunshine, just enough wind to rustle what leaves remained on the trees.  here are paths through the trees, and that day they were layered with pine needles. 

As we walked, he, ever vigilant to obstructions, cleared fallen tree branches. I, on the other hand, got lost in the silence of the woods and in the wonder of what I saw. 

There were mushrooms, bright red or burnt orange, barely visible beneath the leaves. I saw a tiny "forest" of miniature white mushrooms, looking as if gnomes had planted them.  Through my binoculars I spotted masses of dark cones on the high branches of the pines. The lower branches, I noticed, had shed theirs already. 

I even saw a tree that had probably fallen in the spring and was grafting itself onto a larger tree nearby. Some of the smaller tree's branches touched the larger tree beside it. Now, the fallen tree was gradually but persistently adhering itself to the nearest living thing, a strong healthy tree. The two were inseparable.

Buechner continues, “Glory is what God looks like when for the time being all you have to look at him with is a pair of eyes.”  If Buechner is right, then on that ordinary day in November, out in the woods in western Tennessee, I had a glimpse of God’s glory.

Thank you, God, for eyes to see, ears to hear, and the heart to receive the glory of this world. Give us more awareness of the wonder of your creation around us, wherever we are. Amen.