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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Scripture Corner…

APPRECIATING GOD’S POWER IN NATURE

NATURE IS THE splendor of God’s art. They radiate life so much so that their splendour and beauty give praise to the Lord (Psalm.19). Every creature, season and environment has its joys to be treasured. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth create reservoirs of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. No wonder the Psalmist praised God saying, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars, which you have arranged, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works

 of your hands; you put everything under their

 feet (Psalm 8:3-6).

Thus, God communicates to man through nature. No wonder why our ancestors worshipped the rivers, mountains, stars, land and heavens. St. Francis of Assisi communicated with God through nature. St. Augustine, therefore, posits that we learn to love our Creator in creatures. Pope Francis exhausted exhaustively on this in his encyclical letter Laudato Si. He is of the opinion that in preserving nature we learn to identify ourselves with the Creator (God).

The Old Testament prophets like Moses, Elijah offered prayers and sacrifices to God on the mountain (cf. Ex 3, Ex 19:3, Ex 19:1-25, Ex 19:16-20:21, Deut 5). Even Jesus Christ went to the mountain to pray (cf. Matt 14:21). He transfigured on the mountain (cf. Matt 17:1-13). He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed (cf. Lk 5:16). Jesus

was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (cf. Matt 3:13-17).

In our modern world, Christians and non-Christians still make pilgrimages to natural habitats; Rivers, wilderness, and hills. A hill in Abuja is called “Dutse Maria Hill”. In one Marian pilgrimage, it attracted the Cardinal John Onaiyekan, many Catholic priests, seminarians, millions of Catholics and people from other denominations. The pilgrimage lifted my spirit and nourished my soul. The mountain experience gave me a calm connection with my

 life’s journey.

Unfortunately, the situation in some parts of Africa is such that there is a fanatical and pantheistic attitude towards natural habitats. The corollary action is the enthronement of syncretism and paganism. In some cases, those that harness the powers of nature evoke it negatively. This is a contradictory spirit which is masqueraded by evil, selfish, wicked, occultic, and fetish desires. Thus, masking the light. Indeed, such attitude is contrary to Christianity.

Another very shameful and agonizing situation is the habit some herbalist and sages wear in the passing on of these hidden treasures of nature to others. In some cases, project researchers, interviewers and scientists are not given enough attention and information by the sages. In such situations, promotion of the treasures of nature becomes a vain venture!

Nevertheless, some of these sages have come to only rotate the mysteries of nature within a family or clan. The rueful aftermath, is that their children grow up not even having desire to learn them, and some

likely end up in the grave with their wisdom.

In addition, the educational sector in Nigeria is not doing enough to help promote our valuable heritage. Some of these sages who are willing to teach in the schools, are not given recognition and are pejoratively referred to as old fashion and uncivil.

At this point, let us highlight the following suggestions as veritable panacea to this unwholesome practice. First, the educational sector in Nigeria need to employ sages both in primary, secondary and tertiary level so as to teach and instill the consciousness of natural herbs, powers and glory in the students. According to the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society (VATJSS), “It is a sign of justice that parents and society should pass their heritage to their children.

In schools there should be days in the curriculum devoted to natural and geographical studies. On these days, students should be encouraged to read good geographical, natural and historical books, discuss their works and summarize what they have read. The purpose is undoubtedly to know oneself as teaches Socrates.

We must not always teach our children with artificial drawings. Interestingly, some of the long vacation holiday could be spent in “native lands.” There, children will be fully devoted to observing nature, reading, documenting and analyzing their experiences. This will help them to discover more about God.

At home, parents should provide good historical maps, wall papers, music’s and calendars about nature. Moreover, there ought to be different radio channels, and movie productions that broadcast natural habitats and climatic environments. Logistically, this will help enthrone our love for nature. It will also bring joy, clarity, breakthrough, and new-insight to our lives.

Church leaders must also see that all members of their congregations receive spiritual food in the natural places and languages. They can do this by extending some days of worships on the mountains, at moon lights, at midnights, or even at the zoo. Through this, the worshipers can easily understand the greatness and goodness of God to all his creatures.

Beloved, nature is part and parcel of the general philosophy of life. It is concerned with the unity of the past and present. Not with the past for its own sake. In short, nature is seen as an unending dialogue between the past and the present. Our task therefore, is to preserve nature. Widen our arms to embrace all living and non-living creatures. Thus, praising God as  the psalmist and our ancestors did through God’s mighty  deeds and surpassing greatness (Psalm 150:2)

 


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