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« There is nothing so much like God in all the universe as silence | Main | Power outage outrage »

God the crazy creative

Twenty years ago, a mate and I were chatting idly over a drink at a beach resort where we were attending a writing workshop (as you do). We gazed appreciatively over the sparkling waters of the bay before my friend said, ‘It’s a shame the water doesn’t come right up to the shore. It would look even prettier’.

I asked her if she was serious, when she said yes, I told her that if she just waited six hours, the view would be better with all the mud flats covered tidily over, nothing but turquoise wavelets as far as the eye could see. ‘Really?’ she asked. ‘How does that work?’

My friend was a city girl (doubtless she had a whole bunch of street smarts that I lacked), unfamiliar with the ever-constant, ever-changing pattern of the tides.

Observing her incredulity got me thinking about how remarkable the system of the tides is; something I ponder every time I walk beside the sea, as I’ve been doing for at least two hours each day in my Christmas holidays.

Who would have thought of tides – where the view of the ocean alters utterly every six hours, so that if this morning the waves are big and close in  and full of exciting churn and power, this afternoon they will be are way out and benign, leaving a vast expanse of gleaming sand to walk and play on?

And that’s just the ocean. What about the seasons? For weeks we shelter from the sweltering sun, worry about bush fires, enjoy the balmy evenings. Next thing you know, the parks and paddocks are rich green again and we are donning scarves and lighting fires to be cosy.

And what about the endless variety in the length of days? As Robert Louis Stevenson wrote:

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

Then the there’s the mad variety of colours, sounds, smells and species in the natural world. Every night in the history of the planet, the sunset has been unique. We have flowers of every hue imaginable, far more than is strictly necessary.

God must be crazily creative. We tend to imagine God as stern and proper, but maybe God is like a kid with a new set of finger paints just going nuts, mixing colours and trying designs that no one else could begin to imagine (kangaroo anyone?)

Now that I’m back from holidays, in the office each day, running the household, reengaged with friends and commitments, I hope to retain the sense of wonder that is easier to cultivate when you have no time pressures and are profoundly rested. The sense of wonder that sees a flowerbed, or a cloudy sky, or a beach and thinks how incredible it is that God made it all so extravagantly, wildly beautiful . To be filled with wonder, gratitude and awe.

This was published in the February edition of The Melbourne Anglican

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Reader Comments (1)

So wonderfully true Clare, but then I read Annie Dillard and see the dark side of creation and remember so many places where human activity has ruined their enjoyment of the world. And places where sun and waves are merciless and the sand ever encroaching. And the beautiful, diverse creation which is God's handiwork is daily being deprived of vulnerable species because of human activity. Perhaps because this is so, we need pieces like this to remind us of what is our responsibility in its preservation.

February 16, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

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