Ask the Beasts

This reflection is written by the Rev. Tuesday Rupp, Rector of St. Paul’s, Woodbury.

Last week while I was walking the dog, I was deeply preoccupied. I walked with my head down, impatient with a dog who likes to stop and sniff what seems like every leaf, every bush, every three yards or so. I wanted a brisk walk to clear my head. She wanted to take in every wonderful thing that came her way.

So it was a surprise when I noticed, as if for the first time, a tiny landscape of exquisite beauty about two blocks away from my home. In the fading light of evening I saw a lily pond, framed by trees with leaves in every shade of red, yellow, orange, and brown. It looked like a watercolor painting brought to life. I stood, motionless for several minutes, taking it all in: the vivid colors and shapes softened by the setting sun, the nip in the air, the sounds of frogs and birds and breezes. The five dimensions – hight, width, depth, time, and something mysterious that might be called a deep connectivity – seemed to be animated by something beyond the forces of the physics. 

It hasn’t always been easy to find these times and spaces of tranquility lately, at least not for me. In this moment, an angel’s breath away from a miracle, I was overwhelmed with the reminder of God’s presence. It brought to mind one of my favorite passages from the bible, found in 12th chapter of the book of Job.

‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
   the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
   and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
   that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
   and the breath of every human being.’
– Job 12:7-10

To describe Job as “preoccupied” is a gross understatement. Job’s story is one of tremendous, unjust suffering. That’s why this quote is, for me, is an overwhelming surprise. Even in depths of pain Job is reminded – and reminds us – that God is present in Creation. This Holy Presence fills up all five dimension and then some. It is so evident that even animals know it, understand it, and are awed by (and delighted by) it. Dazzled, I let the dog take the lead for the rest of our walk.

One Comment Add yours

  1. john Tuthill says:

    Job’s suffering was a “tremendous unjust” suffering? Really?

    When we studied Job not too long ago at our parish, one of the things we learned is that the Lord took evil to turn it into good – the way it mentions in Genesis 50:20.

    We also learned that a main point of the Book of Job was that the Lord schooled Job to the point that Job was changed at the end.

    At the end, Job began praying for the redemption of his “friends” (enemies, really). And that points to God’s own redemptive characteristic, revealed in Christ (Romans 5:8).

    Creation is fantastic, sure. But, it itself does not seem to be the saving and completely transformational “Good News” of Jesus Christ.

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