The Forest Backdrop

Welcome back! The weather has been so lovely these past few days, that everyone seems to be out enjoying it! One of the benefits we enjoy living in Canada is experiencing four full changes in season! (Remind me that in the dead of winter, okay?) This fall has been absolutely gorgeous, and many people are commenting on how striking the tree colours are. God’s beauty is displayed so vibrantly in such a seemingly mundane object like a tree! We, too, were out enjoying the pleasant weather this weekend, and we saw quite a few people snapping photos of themselves along the trails — the vast forests aflame with colour as their background. I was amiss as a good blogger and didn’t take any photos. However, I marvelled at how this background blended into a solid “hue” all its own. Can you imagine what I mean? Each individual leaf is part of an individual tree, part of a whole forest of trees, set within a forest floor blanketed with fallen leaves. The unique shades and intonations of each individual made up the variation in texture and pattern of the whole. Like those photo montages of maps etc made up of headshots.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I came across this devotional thought by Anne Ortlund, recently, which kind of struck a chord with me and this thought of “parts of the whole”:

“Who can explain God? It takes all of Jesus Christ to explain Him. There are hundreds of functions and facets and names of Jesus: The Light, the Ancient of Days, the I Am, Wonderful Counselor, the Light of Isreal, the Branch, the Rock, the Lord, the chief Cornerstone, the Way, the Truth, the Life and on and on and on. He is the express image of God’s Person, but it takes every facet of him to reveal fully the glories of the Godhead.

This is the Christ in whom you’ve been placed. This is the Christ who surrounds you — above you, beneath you, around you, before you, behind you, within you. This is the Christ who is all, and in all. You are complete, ‘running over’ in Him”.

Anne Ortlund

Like the forest backdrop, the attributes of God, are uniquely blended into a vibrant tapestry of all He is and all He is to us. It’s like standing amidst the fallen leaves on the forest floor and trying to pinpoint one red leaf high above you. It can be done, but you miss the beauty of the variation all around you. Try it next time you are doing some “forest bathing” (it’s a thing… look it up). Make a list of all the characteristics or names of God you can think of… and thank Him for the many more you have not yet discovered! Joy, peace and love to you!

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever had to name something? Perhaps you’ve created a beautiful piece of art and it’s being prepared for gallery presentation; it needs a “name” to go on that little card. A title to say what it is about and why. Great artists and photographers always name their work. I once read a book about a girl who names all of the homes she moves into… both big and small. It gives the place significance. I guess it is more fun to live in “The Corner Cottage” than apartment #2 on Route One next to the old oak tree. Anyone name their car? “Lemons” in my case. Of course, if you are a parent, you’ve had to name your offspring. Were you like us and had a book with baby names, meanings and origins? You made a list of boy and girl names and tried out the short forms and how a first and middle name flowed together off the tip of the tongue. Did you look at initials? That kid is going to be stuck with his or her name forever… it better be good. Worthy of a monogramed towel hanging in the bathroom. Or maybe you chose a family name, passed down for generations, honoring a loved one. Oh, and never the name of that third grade kid who was a “weirdo”… I know a “blank” and can’t call my baby that!

Photo: Days with Grey

Our youngest acquired a new batch of pet rats this week. Yes, rats. That is a topic for another time and place. We are talking about naming things, here. Anyhow… Our rats have always been named after plants and flowers, so picking names can be quite fun. God’s garden gives us plenty of choices… and we’ve had fun attaching traits and characteristics to their names. I’m sure we will be posting on social media this week… so check them out later, if you are interested!

So, what’s in a name? In grade school I did a whole project on that quote from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliette”. I got a pretty good mark, too. I guess I have been musing about such things for a while. As you know, words and their meanings are captivating to me, so names naturally fall into that category. Special “words” if you may. I tried searching “How many names does God have?” and didn’t get very accurate results. The short answer? “Lots”. God has lots of names. Each significant based on certain traits and characteristics. I guess that’s what makes it so special. Our Heavenly Father could be so many things for so many people: Father, Comforter, Protector, Creator, King… the list goes on and on. Listen to people pray… it’s a good hint about how they view God. How do they address Him when they speak to Him? There is a good list (here), although I don’t think even 950 names are exhaustive. But it is a significant start, if you may be interested in further study. Certainly fascinating.

Our little brains can’t begin to comprehend all the attributes of God, let alone name them. Names are really only a snapshot of something. And God is much much bigger than our tiny understanding of the person we call “God”. Would you agree? Or do you find it easy to label Him? Perhaps based on your needs, you know that God is definitely your “Abba” or your “protector”. Either way, Holy and awesome truly are His name. (Psalm 111). And no matter what your name is, He cares for you and loves you. And that’s the bottom line. Be blessed, my friends!