The Wonderful World of the Small
by Wanda Wareham
You've probably seen some of the beautiful photos of stars, planets, galaxies and nebulas taken by the Hubble telescope. The pictures below will give you a glimpse of another part of God's creation, which is just as full of variety, beauty and intricate design.
When we look at the stars we see the wonders of a vast world of the big. Now I want to show you another vast world, but this is a wondrous world of the small. This is the microscopic world of things so small that they must be enlarged many times to see the marvels of their amazing tiny parts.
All the things I am going to show you were made by God. They should reassure us that he has his hand over the world.
I have always felt close to God out under the stars at night and out in nature. I feel the same way as Jean Bell Mosley describes in her book Wide Meadows. As a young girl, she saw a little patch of bluets blooming in the grass and thought, "Maybe that's the way God signed his name." And suddenly she "saw his signature, written in many forms, like one would write in many languages." She found it in "a meadowlark balancing on a millet stalk, the big pines marching up the hill, the sunset and the fireflies in the meadow at night. Everywhere there is something beautiful, he's signed his name." She saw what fun she was going to have the rest of her life looking for places where God had signed his name. "If we search for him where he has been, surely we will find him where he is."
A song I love says the same thing about feeling close to God through the big and little things he has made: "In his great and small creations God reveals his work and presence."
God is trying to speak to us, right into our hearts, every day, actually all the time if we are listening to him. One way he does this is through his creation. Things out in nature have a lot to say to us about his nature. In his book Why We Live in Community, Eberhard Arnold speaks of the "resurrection we experience again and again everywhere in nature." There are many examples of this. A seed must be buried in the earth so it will grow into a flower. A caterpillar must lie quietly for a long time in a small, dark cocoon or chrysalis before it can become a moth or butterfly. Some creatures must crawl into holes or caves or into the mud at the bottom of a pond and sleep for many months during winter. Many trees must lose their leaves over winter. In spring new life bursts forth from all that seemed dead. The trees flower and get new leaves. Hibernating animals emerge to enjoy the warm sunshine and have their babies. Birds build nests and lay eggs. Flowers grow and bloom and moths and butterflies come out of their cocoons and chrysalises.
In his stories, Jesus often uses things in nature to tell us something important. He talks about being the vine and that we are the branches that can only bear fruit through him. He says that a grain of wheat has to die in order to bear fruit and that we have to die to ourselves, too, so that we can bear fruit. So everything in the great and small creations carries a message for us human beings from God. This message is that we can experience resurrection from death, that through repentance we, too, can experience new life.
Life is so short and time is so precious. Let us take in as much as we can of God's wonders around us for as long as we can. This will help us appreciate life more and make us more thankful. You children especially should take time to discover the ever-surprising wonders around you. Your eyes are sharper now than they will be as grownups. You can notice tiny things with your sharp eyes that the grownups would miss seeing.
Children keep showing me things I have never seen before. One child found a tiny cocoon 1/8" long under a piece of bark on a tree trunk. We put it in a little jar in our classroom and it hatched out the next day as a tiny cream-colored moth. Several children were playing in a stream one day and found caddis fly larvae inside their little stick-and-stone houses. We enjoyed watching them poke their heads and front legs out to catch their food. I would never have seen them because they blended in so well with the sticks and stones at the bottom of the stream.
On a camping trip we were dumping firewood out of a burlap sack to use for a fire. Suddenly, out with the wood rolled nine baby mice. Their eyes were shut and they were only just starting to grow a bit of grayish fur. We moved away about 15 feet and waited quietly to see what would happen. Over the next 45 minutes we got to watch the mother mouse carry each of her nine babies safely to a new home in the woodshed nearby.
There are many other wonders out there in the woods, ponds, streams and fields you could experience if you take a bit of time to be quietly out in nature. Have you ever actually watched a leaf detach itself from a tree and fall to the ground? Did you ever hear the tiny pop of a hoyabella flower when it opens? Have you ever seen five to ten bluebirds all huddled together in a bird box to keep each other warm on the coldest nights?
If you have your eyes and ears open, you can see something special or unusual even when you are going from home to school or to your place of work. If you take the time, you too can, as William Blake put it, "see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour."
The Bruderhof is an educational community, and not just for our children. Communal mealtimes are a chance for members to share their interests and wisdom. A science teacher in our school presented these thoughts at a recent meal, after grubbing with children in nearby ponds and woods and examining their findings under a microscope.
This article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com
Page - PeopleOfFaith.com - Visitor
2004 People of Faith