Enjoy the beautiful place God has given us to live

By  PASTOR JAKE DYRHAUG, First Lutheran Church,  Little Falls

Summertime in Minnesota always makes me thank our creator without thinking about it. Someone just shared a bit of humor with me on a recent Sunday. He said, “I didn’t make it to church last Sunday because I was out fishing. But wouldn’t it be better to be on the water fishing thinking about church than be in church thinking about fishing?”

Interesting point.

The best would be to do both, of course. I have to say, spending time in the outdoors around Little Falls does recharge my soul, too.

Author Sigurd Olson wrote a book entitled, “The Singing Wilderness,” inspired to write about the lakes and waters of the wilderness of Minnesota. Even though there are plenty of heavy thoughts and there’s a good dose of discord in this world, I find myself so in awe of the beauty of the area of creation in which we live, it just flows out of my heart quite naturally. Sometimes, without words, I hear myself saying, “Thank you, God, for such beautiful days, and thank you for the capacity you put in each person’s heart to respond to the beauty of nature.” It’s even kind of mysterious that it makes our hearts beat with joy and peace.

But because God loves us, God gives us the gift of enjoying a glowing sunset, a cool breeze on a warm summer evening, a majestic white pine, the flowing river, a placid lake, a glowing campfire, the call of a loon, blooming flowers. And even if you’re having a tense day when it’s supposed to be the season many take vacations, God’s grace reaches us and enlightens us.

One of my favorite old hymns is “Beautiful Savior,” which refers to Jesus as “King of Creation.” And it says, “He makes our sorrowing spirits sing!” According to John 1:3, “Through him all things were made.”

Whether you’re in church singing “Beautiful Savior” or out in the singing wilderness this week, take some time to thank God, the creator, this summer, that we live in such a beautiful place.