The unpredictable and changing weather of late winter in Mississippi seldom surprises people who have grown up with it or lived through multiple seasons of it, but it always offers powerful reminders that nature pushes our world toward natural progressions that can be expected and usually offer some kind of great benefit.
The roaring line of severe thunderstorms that swept through northern Mississippi on Thursday night happened after one of those warm, windy days of seasonal transition that was ended when a cold front moved through. Nature is a powerful reminder of the creation stories of the Book of Genesis, soaring poetry filled with imagination, perception, faith and expectation of something new and unfolding, and of something also already known.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day,” the opening verses of Genesis tell us. And then there’s more, reflective of how humans seem to be shaped to perceive the universe as it relates on a spiritual level.
Later in the creation story, the poet-narrator tells us, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good… ”
The Genesis passages have helped people make sense of the created order and the way it evolves across thousands of years – a transformation often from barren form to natural bounty.
Every approaching springtime offers a reminder that nature is both awesome and wonderful.
We can’t see God but we see the Creator’s powerful work all around, and we can know God is here.