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Natural Beauty (04-09-23)

Bible Readings: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalm 24.1)

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. (Psalm 147. 7 – 8)

See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6. 28 – 29)

As I write, I have two spectacular miniature sunflowers in full bloom in a pot on the patio. I say miniature, because they are of the type that does not grow tall. However, their flowers are huge and absolutely perfect, and their colours are vibrant. They have been like this for over a week and they bring me great pleasure every time I look at them.

Then there are the patio roses. David have me a gorgeous yellow rose for my birthday this year. When the blooms are fully open, they are like the delicate dress frills that would fit well on ‘Strictly’. Our daughter, Rachel, also gave me a rose last year, which not only has a beautiful perfume but changes colour as it blooms. It begins with tight white buds with a slight hint of dark cerise, but as the flower comes into full bloom it slowly changes from white to a deep pink all over. Mum was also given two roses for her 100th birthday, Margaret Merrill, which is white and Champagne Moment, which is cream. These have provided a continual display of fragrant flowers all summer.

If I go down the drive, I am greeted with tall, lush sweetcorn plants with full ripening cobs. I have to say, I’m rather proud of these, and again get great pleasure from monitoring their progress day by day. Even better, we are now enjoying the cobs and savouring them one by one. The summer weather may not have been the best, but the regular rainfall has ensured an abundant harvest.

Each one of these plants remind me of our amazing creator God, who has fashioned the earth and everything in it with such skill and intricacy. This natural beauty brings me great pleasure and makes my heart sing. My spirit is lifted and it prompts gratitude and thanksgiving. This is something that the Psalmists appreciated. Matthew too tells us to look at this natural beauty too, as a reminder of how carefully God tends creation and how carefully he will watch over us too.

We have just begun the ‘Season of Creation’, which is now recognized annually by the Church. It runs from 1 September to the Feast of St Francis on 4 October. During this period, why not take a few minutes each day to ponder the natural beauty around you and give thanks to God for the wonders of creation.

A Prayer (from Te Deum Laudamus) We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as the Lord; all creation worships you, the Father everlasting. To you all angels, all powers of heaven, the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Amen.

All things bright and beautiful, a version by John Rutter, sung by Hayley Westenra in live concert introduced by Aled Jones

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