Seeking out the source |

Seeking out the source

Eugene Scott

“It’s hard to live here and be an atheist,” an acquaintance once said. We were discussing how the artistic beauty of these mountains we live in begs us to search for an artist – for God. Both of us agreed that even a bad day flyfishing could often match a good worship service for experiencing the peace and presence of Christ. Sunsets broken by the raised shoulders of Mount Holy Cross, hummingbirds darting around the deck, quiet hours among the aspen gold of fall, an elk bugle breaking the morning air, and powder days piling smiles on smiles all point us beyond ourselves. There really is something creative, artistic, funny, loving, and powerful out there.Responding to the natural beauty around him, King David wrote in Psalm 8: “When I consider your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?” It is hard to live here on this incredible planet and be an atheist.But it is not hard to live here and be an agnostic.Yes, the unmatched majesty surrounding us beckons us beyond ourselves, but it doesn’t give us God’s name and address. It just points in God’s general direction. “There must be something bigger than us out there,” we sigh, “but I have no idea who or what it is.” Often we mistake who is out there. The ancient Egyptians observed glorious sunsets and other natural phenomena and developed a theology based on the material world around them. They observed the dung beetle collecting dung between its horns and pushing the little ball across the desert floor to bury it. Then they connected the movement of the sun, seemingly a tiny ball pushed across the sky to be buried at the end of each day, with the pattern of the dung beetle, whom they named Khepri. Each day the sun would be reborn. Thus, those ancient theologians decided to worship both the sun and Khepri. But they had no idea who was really out there.Worshiping a bug sounds so quaint and superstitious to us moderns. Today we don’t make statues of bugs or people and worship them (unless, of course, you think our fixation on and adoration of celebrities are godlike worship). Still, like the ancient Egyptians, we are confused as to the true source of our lives. Rather than relate to a living, loving God, we talk of Mother Earth as if she were animate rather than part of the creation herself. We blindly believe that by digging deep in our hearts we will find ultimate purpose, as creators of our own destiny. Or worse, we don’t think of these things at all. We simply walk through life not noticing dung beetles, sunsets, or anything else that may contain the fingerprints of God. We remain smugly agnostic.It’s as if we are players in a cosmic Cyrano de Bergerac play gone bad, where in the end Roxanne doesn’t discover it is actually Cyrano, not Christian, she loves. We never notice Christian/nature can’t deliver the goods. In reality, however, God is the poet behind the scenes, writing great sonnets to woo our hearts to him. Like Roxanne, our role in the play is to seek out the author and not stop short at the façade of poetic presentation.Psalm 121 says, “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” The writer of Psalm 121 knew that mountains stir us but cannot safeguard us. He recognized there is more than something out there, but someone. “The Lord will watch over our coming and going both now and forever,” he wrote. As you look out your window at that world-class view, ask yourself, “Where does my help come from?” Then don’t settle for the easy answer; seek the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.Eugene C. Scott is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church. You can reach him at or 477-0383.Vail, Colorado

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