Just a few days ago I happened to be walking along a British seaside pier. The school holidays were over, so the rides were closed, and children were few in number. Instead middle-aged and elderly couples were strolling above the surf, making the most of a cloudy day in late summer, with nothing to do but enjoy the breeze. Around them were stalls selling seaside rock in a colourful variety of flavours; souvenir shops surrounded by baskets of exotic shells, and windows filled with plastic trinkets and air fresheners decorated with frilly lace; music stalls selling CD’s of yesterday’s songs; mugs for sale emblazoned with pictures of your favourite breed of dog; a noisy amusement arcade clamouring for cash, and a rather bare café that along with its two customers had seen better days.
As I redirected my gaze, and looked up over the sea, I saw that the grey clouds were slowly beginning to move, and a beautiful blue sky was appearing, decorated with billows of white shining in the sunlight. Looking inland that same invisible sun was now shining on the hills that surrounded the town, picking out greens and browns, valleys and contours and highlighting them with gold. This was beauty on a grand scale.
How many of us look to what is plastic, to what is man-made for our inspiration, when our natural world displays the beauty, majesty and design of a Creator’s hand?
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)