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The Sights and Sounds of Praise

What we can see through the eyes of children is a convicting reality check that we are generally overly preoccupied with the cares of the world. I recently had the pleasure of wading in a creek with my two- and four-year old granddaughters who came upon a scraggly water plant in the shallows that I had always seen as a weed. It had ¼ inch blooms that were difficult to discern as flowers from five feet above, but close examination revealed a center vein of feathered purple surrounded by tiny pink dots on a soft white petal – five petals altogether – amazingly beautiful. In all my years of wading this creek, this was the first time I had seen this intricate beauty.

God seemingly hid this amazing creation where few humans would find it. Then I realized that was not the purpose of this flower. It was created as an expression of His wonder; the adulation of humans was immaterial outside the seer’s understanding and appreciation of where credit was due. It was God’s good pleasure to bring beauty from a plant that was not beautiful. This tiny flower not only reflected the glory of God, but also the grace of God…it not only testified of its Creator, but offered its tiny petals to its Creator in praise.

The power of this truth awakened the rest of my senses – sights, sounds, smells – to the symphony of praise going on all around me. The babbling of water over stones set a rhythmic cadence that was punctuated by the occasional ker-plunk of a stone thrown into deeper water by the four-year old. The birds sang individual songs that somehow combined into an amazing chorus also featuring solos from hawks and woodpeckers. Creation’s song of praise to its Creator was completed by the woodwind section – trees clapping their hands in the breeze. All this was for an audience of One… I just happened to be privy to the performance.

The mind-boggling thing is that ALL of nature gives praise to its Creator through its existence in color, shape, design, light, shadow, sound, function, and an infinite variety and blend of smells – created things that have no thought processes of their own to praise God. They DO because He IS. We, as humans, created in the very image of God (which should illicit the most magnificent praise) have also been given the consciousness of thought, and the freedom to express that thought – or not – as we choose. With this additional gift of intentionality, do we praise our Creator? Do we daily recognize the beauty and wonder of the way God made us, and give Him the praise due Him? Or are we so consumed with life’s activities and cares that the beauty He created to reflect His glory has become like office wallpaper – a backdrop so commonplace we have ceased to appreciate it or even take note of its presence?

Jesus made a convicting statement to the Pharisees about the praise He was receiving from the people: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Lu 19:40) I saw and heard the praise of the rocks. They weren’t waiting on me – they didn’t have the capacity to wait. I do, but choosing not to praise would align me with the Pharisees. Instead, I choose to be like the rocks and all of Creation that cries out, and I pray that my praise to my Creator can be as bold, as beautiful and as constant as theirs.