“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the
flowers and clouds and stars.” (Luther)
The previous quote comes to us from Martin Luther, and points us to a theologian who rejoiced in God’s wonderful creation. As we move deeper into Spring and witness the rebirth of nature through the song of the birds, the leafing of the trees and the blooming of flowers, we are drawn to the fresh, new display before us. Filled with such a wide variety of colors and sounds, we enter into this time of growth and new life just as we proclaim the new life that is ours in the risen Christ, who defeated death for us and for all creation. Luther saw nature as a prime reminder of a God who is at work constantly creating and sustaining all of life.
“God wants to be praised for nourishing and cherishing, for God cherishes
all creatures. God is not only the Creator, but is also the Sustainer and Nourisher.” (Luther)
God, then, for Luther, was never removed from creation, but constantly at work caring for all that God has created. Even so, God gives over to us the mission of being stewards of this creation, so that we care and uphold and respect and nurture nature for the precious gift that it is. This is a high responsibility for the people of God. This world and all that is in it is the handiwork of a loving God who blesses us with all manner of trees and flowers and animals through which we are enriched and our living is made more beautiful. We cannot survive without this amazing creation God has given us. Scientists call nature an ecosystem, an interrelated collection of organisms which begin in single-celled form and lead to us, with all, plants and animals, interconnected in a way that gives us the ability to sustain life. Our very survival epends upon our honoring and caring for this world and all of its creatures, its flora and fauna, so that from the bottom to the top God’s created order can continue to thrive.
It is in this wonderfully ordered system of nature where Luther sees the hand of God at work for our blessing and life, and as a witness to God. For Luther, what we can know about God is best revealed to us in Jesus, God incarnate. Through the Gospel message of salvation, through word and sacrament, we come to understand the most important things we can know about God. Easter is God’s great gift of salvation, and as that message becomes truth to us we carry it wherever we go. Easter also is the gift of life- full life, abundant life. Yet, Luther also saw the hand of God at work in nature, revealing even more of God’s loving handiwork for us and for all creation.