The Worship of Nature

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?  Don’t feel bad; I didn’t know this until a few days ago.  Our nation also recognized April 22 as Earth Day.  So, I thought I would honor both of these occasions with an awesome poem about nature.  John Greenleaf Whittier was a Quaker Poet and ardent abolitionist.  He is also well known for his long narrative poem, Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl. 

Whittier’s work below reminds me of the following Bible passages:  Psalm 19:1-6, Luke 19:40 and Isaiah 55:12.  What do you think–does nature “consciously” worship God?  I suppose one could say the Biblical writer was speaking metaphorically.  To be honest, I’m not sure, but it seems that nature does sense or somehow comprehends God.  And perhaps it worships God in the truest sense:  it faithfully carries out what God designed it to do; it sustains and displays beauty to the creatures He so much wants to befriend.  So, if it’s true that nature worships God, what does this say to us?


by: John Greenleaf Whittier

The harp at Nature’s advent strung

Has never ceased to play;

The song the stars of morning sung

Has never died away.


And prayer is made, and praise is given,

By all things near and far;

The ocean looketh up to heaven,

And mirrors every star.


Its waves are kneeling on the strand,

As kneels the human knee,

Their white locks bowing to the sand,

The priesthood of the sea!


They pour their glittering treasures forth,

Their gifts of pearl they bring,

And all the listening hills of earth

Take up the song they sing.


The green earth sends its incense up

From many a mountain shrine;

From folded leaf and dewy cup

She pours her sacred wine.


The mists above the morning rills

Rise white as wings of prayer;

The altar-curtains of the hills

Are sunset’s purple air.


The winds with hymns of praise are loud,

Or low with sobs of pain,–

The thunder-organ of the cloud,

The dropping tears of rain.


With drooping head and branches crossed

The twilight forest grieves,

Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost

From all its sunlit leaves.


The blue sky is the temple’s arch,

Its transept earth and air,

The music of its starry march

The chorus of a prayer.


So Nature keeps the reverent frame

With which her years began,

And all her signs and voices shame

The prayerless heart of man.

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4 Responses to The Worship of Nature

  1. dk Levick says:

    The joy of creation is that it tells us a lot about the Creator. He loves beauty – diversity – and complexity merged with simplicity and has a sense of humor. From the minute (DNA) to the infinite (the universe) HIs wisdom is proclaimed. All things created are His handiwork and the ‘heavens proclaim His glory”. Those who don’t know the Creator – worship the creation. How much more should we, who have been given the gift to see the Creator?

  2. ,,,and the trees of the field clapped their hands…

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