I would be willing to guess that the person who took this picture doesn’t use the same words as me when she talks, but she speaks my language nevertheless. I am so utterly enchanted by this photograph that it pretty much takes my breath away. I personally think that the aurora borealis is one of the finest things God made up. I bet there was applause in heaven when He spoke that baby forth.

I am enthralled with nature. It has become trite to say that you experience God most when you are outside someplace beautiful instead of locked up in a church building with a bunch of people you probably wouldn’t associate with otherwise, but it really is true for so many of us. We know we need to hang out with our tribe and get to know them and help them and even harder, be helped by them, and most of all, just love them, just the way they are. And hope we may be loved just so, in return. And I am not knocking it. It is quite brilliant when it clicks. Which for me, I say with great gratitude, it usually does.

But nature ALWAYS clicks. Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book An Altar in the World, writes, “According to the Talmud, every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, ‘Grow, grow.'”

And Gerard Manley Hopkins:

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”

Yup. As much as we have desecrated and spoiled, violated and savaged this beautiful Earth, it still sings to us, still cradles us, still points us to the one who made it anytime we care to follow the trajectory of its finger. This morning I took the dog out for a walk and the sun was just rising and touching everything with an iridescent gold-beyond the fields and trees in the foreground were the mountains, blue tinged with light in the foreground, the farther huge peaks white and shrouded in cloud. And if that was not enough, chevrons of geese were flying over my head, calling, calling, and their underbellies were brilliant with gold light too! And no one seemed to be around but me. Even in this big city, I could feel that I was the only one who saw it, that it was God speaking to me in my native tongue.

Someone said that a lot of paths lead nowhere at all, but God will come down any path to meet us. I believe that. He came down a dingy dark road to meet me, and keeps on doing it every day as I struggle up from sleep, not sure I want to put the effort that is required into living well. He will meet me in the loving gaze of my family, my warm furry dog, the words of books, the stories left behind of Jesus’ time on earth, Handel’s Messiah, Celtic laments, and when I stop striving and wait, in His own good time. This is MY native tongue, and God does speak it so well. He speaks it even in the silence.

“Truer words were never spoken-                                                                                                             you picked them up when you were young                                                                                        Maybe woven in a story                                                                                                                                that goes back to where you’re from                                                                                                         Truer words were never spoken                                                                                                                     and for an audience of One                                                                                                                     Where you’re healed is where you’re broken                                                                                       God knows your native tongue.

Build a bridge with what’s behind you-                                                                                                        the scattered pieces of your past                                                                                                                Build it out over the chasm                                                                                                                         to the Promised Land at last                                                                                                                          Start a bridge with what’s behind you-                                                                                                  God picks up where you’ve begun                                                                                                          Cause where you look is where love finds you                                                                                      God knows your native tongue.

Jesus spoke in Aramaic-                                                                                                                                                  sounds I wouldn’t understand                                                                                                                        In a local ancient dialect                                                                                                                                  for the people of that land                                                                                                                              Our little words can’t hold a candle                                                                                                              to the splendor of the Son                                                                                                                          That can explain this world of wonder                                                                                                       and shine the same on everyone                                                                                                                 But little words can’t hold a candle                                                                                                             all your own when darkness comes                                                                                                  They’re just the size for us to handle                                                                                                      God knows your native tongue.”

David Wilcox