Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria
God’s Creation and Working with Beauty
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good (Genesis 1:11).
IN SWITZERLAND, AUSTRIA AND SOUTHERN GERMANY: Not long after God called chaos into creation, this geographical area of today’s Alps likely conveyed a primal beauty. But over the millennia, striking changes ensued in our modern Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria. Movement from the earth’s tectonic plates pushed the edges of enormous landmasses into each other. Sliding gradually at imperceptible speeds, over and under, these colliding plates slowly pushed the land skyward.
For the Celts, some of the earliest recorded inhabitants in this area, the soaring mountains that would become the Alps presented impenetrable frontiers, hostile terrain, imposing peaks, and unpredictable, cascading waters. In spite of the difficult topography, however, those same inhabitants discovered lush fields and bountiful flowers, clear air and refreshing snows, pure water and incomparable vistas. Modern visitors continue to be welcomed with a feast for the eye, stimulation for the body, peace for the mind, and respite for the soul.
And visitors inevitably share a common verdict: the local inhabitants of the Alpine countries of Europe specialize in making God’s natural beauty even more beautiful. Everywhere one looks, whether riding through the countryside or walking through the villages or along the city streets, there rises the telltale signs of agricultural richness, botanical abundance, careful planning, and a commitment to cultivated beauty. In the same way, keep your own senses attuned to the creativity of God’s handiwork. And let yourself be used to enhance what God has so graciously given. We have inherited this beautiful world, and we are called to partner in God’s good work. God’s original verdict remains forever with us: it is not only “good;” it is “very good!” Like our friends of the Alpine regions, let us work to enhance the already-lovely. This is not an attempt to improve what God has done; it is to fulfill what God expects.
May this be your calling as you move through your week: work with the beauty God has given you, and with your help, loveliness shall continue to grow!
This comes from p. 114-115 in my 2012 book, Approaching the Presence. You can purchase all the really good 376 pages for your very own through the Book Store heading using Pay Pal. Do it – and enjoy – and help me pay for my kid’s college!
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
Guide me this week, Lord. Awaken my eyes to beauty. Quicken my soul to the quiet gifts of loveliness, however hard to see. In spite of schedules, demands, pressures, and potential distractions, let me recognize beauty—and give thanks.