The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

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The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge. Psalm 19

For the last several days, in my part of the country, hard up against the waters of Puget Sound in Washington State, we have been under more than a week of dense fog, day and night. The world seemed to have collapsed down to a few yards in all directions. Everything was still, wet, cold and dreary. And I was beginning to feal that dreariness inside myself. Yesterday, though, in the early afternoon, the skies suddenly cleared and glorious sunshine spread out over everything. A north wind came up with it, full of force and it had the surface of Puget Sound all roughed up with whitecaps and heavy waves were thundering ashore down at the beaches. Suddenly the streets were filled with villagers walking gleefully along the waterfront. The fall colors are peaking in the trees and bushes and the sunshine made the view out my window seem like a living impressionist painting. It felt as if joy had descended upon the world, if even just for a moment. I, too, was one of those autumn-giddy walkers.

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This morning, as is my custom, I stepped out onto our patio in the morning darkness, expecting the air to be as heavy with moisture as it had been for so many days before. But to my surprise, when I looked up, the heavens were sparked with stars and a bright quarter moon. The breezes were still up, but they were full of freshness and the scent of the sea. It was so beautiful that I found myself speaking a prayer of thanksgiving out loud there in the early morning darkness. I was thrilled to be alive, to be able to look up into a clear, star-studded sky. But even more so, I felt as if my soul was overflowing with the joy of God’s creation. I was overwhelmed with awe and wonder at the gift of being able to contemplate it. My whole being was filled with thanksgiving. What a way to start a day!!

True, I should give thanks for the fog too, for it too has a purpose in the cosmic plans of the Creator. But I am a weak human being. I have not yet transcended the limits of the flesh. I am still easily burdened by the weight and fury of the darker emotions at times. But there are days, too, like this day, when nature reveals the beauty that fills the mind of God. Days, like this one, when the sunlit colors of autumn leaves and the sound to the wind in the high trees fill us up to the bursting point and, for a fleeting, shining moment, we experience a hint of the joy that awaits us in heaven. Suffice it to say, this morning’s experience reminded of the opening lines to Psalm 119. The rest of that beautiful psalm is a powerful reflection on the nature of God and God’s laws that refresh our souls like a freshing wind and the brilliant sun refreshes the earth after days of dreary fog. Thanks be to our loving God, so full of tenderness, so rich in kindness, so generous with mercy. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.