Reflection of the Week - 28 July 2020

Posted in Faith

I don’t remember the thoughts and feelings of my Year 12 self when I studied Gerard Manly Hopkins’ poem God’s Grandeur. What I do know is that it sparked in me a lifelong appreciation of nature and a need to be in touch with the natural world as part of my spiritual nurture.

The poem was written in 1877, the year Hopkins was ordained as a Jesuit priest and begins with the line:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It then goes on to explore the relationship between God and the world of nature; how the divine is infused in things and refreshes, despite the efforts of humans to ruin the whole show!

With so much uncertainty in the world around us at the moment I find it important to remain connected to God through creation. Strolling around my garden, a walk in a park or by the beach is all it takes to re-connect me to the core of my being. The occasional walk being totally surrounded by nature and pushing my physical body to its limits does this even more. A recent walk in Morialta Conservation Park reminded me how small my problems are in the context of the wider world. The view below gives a glimpse of how small the city is – even the power lines seem to fade from view!


‘Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.’ (Psalm 96:11-12)

What helps nurture your spirit and keep hope alive in the midst of uncertainty?


A beautiful view, gorgeous colours around the creek on a winter’s day or the tiny plants which burst through our concrete cities? All serve to remind me of God’s grandeur.

The tiny moving things

and lively noises in the dark,

the hidden growings deep beneath the soil,

the smaller ones we need to stop to see

and birds which sweep the blueness,

the survivors which burst through our concrete

undefeated by the limits which we place

all speak of your imagination,

all tell us of your power.

We praise you for all that is, O God.

We open our hearts to your gifts.

We commit ourselves to their living safe with us.


Grace and peace


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Comments (3)

  1. Brian Polkinghorne 30 july 2020, 10:20 Link
    Many thanks for the Reflection Wendy. Very nicely done.

    I never studied Gerard Manly Hopkins, but I understand that his drift was quite similar to many others of his and previous eras. I like this little piece by Elizabeth Browning-Barrett

    Earth’s crowded with heaven
    And every common bush aflame with God
    But only those who see take off their shoes
    And recognize that they are standing on Holy Ground
    Elizabeth Browning-Barrett

    Blessings — Brian
    PS — You are busy — no need to reply