Splendor and Majesty ~ Let Heaven and Nature Sing

Have you ever heard it, heaven and nature singing? 

There was a time when Jesus went into Jerusalem, people were worshiping him and praising him loudly. The community leaders told Jesus to make them be quiet. Jesus responded “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out! “ Think about that… Can a stone cry out?  I ‘ve seen a lot of rocks, and I have never audibly heard one cry out. But I have seen Mt Whitney, Half-dome, and El Capitan and have witnessed Creation declaring His majesty. 

In high school choir, we sang a spiritual based on Luke 19:14. The phrase “If I don’t praise Him the rocks are gonna cry out, glory and honor, glory and honor…” is repeated throughout the song. This phrase often comes to mind when I am driving through the mountains east of San Diego, hiking through Yosemite, or through the slot canyons in our desert. 

“If I don’t praise Him, the rocks are gonna cry out.”

There is another song that is one of the most recorded songs in history. We often sing it from memory, without ever really giving thought to the words pouring from our mouths. 

“Joy to the World” was written in 1719 by Isaac Watts as his interpretation of Psalms 98.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity

I may have heard it at some point, but I just grasped, today, that this iconic Christmas hymn was based on the majestic and beautiful words of Psalms 98. David is not just encouraging us to use our voices and instruments in worship of our Creator, but he is telling us that all creation worships Him. 

Isaac Watts joined this Psalm with the good news of Christ’s birth in the Christmas Carol, Joy to the World. Can you see the Psalm in his words? 

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let Earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

How do heaven and nature sing? 

Listen for the wind blowing the leaves of a tree. Be silent and eavesdrop on the bird’s song. Sit still and hear the river’s current splashing over rocks or the quick splash of the fish jumping out of the water. Listen to the waves crash on the shore. Take time to enjoy the laugh of a baby who sees and elephant for the first time. 

One of the most memorable worship services of my life was during a backpacking trip through Yosemite. We were tucked in between several rock formations that reached hundreds of feet into the sky. In the distance, we saw lightening flashing. Not yet hearing any thunder, we settled in for one of God’s greatest fireworks shows ever. We sat for several hours watching as the storm drew closer and closer to our little hide out. The thunder started crashing around us and echoing off the rocks. It was beautiful, yet terrifying at the same time. Retreating to a safer location, I couldn’t help peeking out to see the blankets of rain and the lightening hitting the rocks above us. We huddled under our tarps and tents as we listened, in awe and wonder, to heaven and nature sing

As we approach the celebration of Christ’s birth. Let’s take time to be still, to truly worship alongside heaven and nature. 

This is part of a series, Splendor and Majesty, Knowing God Through His Magnificent Creation. I hope this encourages you to see God throughout your day in His General Revelation of Himself through His creation. 

If this was meaningful to you or you know someone who could benefit from reading this, please feel free to comment or share. If you are not already signed up to receive my blog right to your inbox, just hit the follow box in the bottom right of this page and fill in your information. 

Photo by Oleg Chursin on Unsplash

Published by Keri Willis

My name is Keri Willis. I am a semi-retired educator. I spent a great deal of my career working with adults with developmental disabilities and many years in elementary education, in the classroom and as an administrator. My main ministry now is coordinating the women’s ministry for our church in San Diego, CA. I have been married thirty-four years and have two grown and married children. I now have a head of full grey hair and good ideas. I believe we are created to use our gifts and to be creative. That comes in many forms for me. I love to woodwork and use power tools, design, decorate, garden, and create new recipes. And I love to write. One major lesson I have learned in my writing journey is that I need to be still and listen to hear God’s voice before I am prepared to put into words the message he has instilled in my heart. This has been much easier since I am no longer working full time, but it is so easy to get distracted and not listen, which almost always ends with an empty page in the form of writer’s block. While I have written many articles for newsletters and local newspapers, I did not consider myself a writer until I self-published my first book, Teapots and Power Tools. https://www.amazon.com/Teapot.../dp/1466458763/ref=sr_1_3... The idea emerged as I was working on a project in my garage. I had worship music playing, power tools out and saw dust flying. I glanced up and saw my delicate teapot sitting on my router table. The message was clear. Sometimes we are using the power tools God gives us and sometimes he just wants us to be still and have tea with him. The book became the foundation for a women’s retreat, and then my amazing niece helped me work through publishing it on Create Space (now KDP). At least five other projects are in different stages of production. I joined hope*writers to help motivate me and keep me focused and accountable. I am still trying to figure out the whole website and blog thing. That is my next goal for myself; that and finish writing at least one of my projects! Teapots and Power Tools: Effectively using the tools God has equipped you with, while taking time to “Be Still and Know That He is God”

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