"Nature is not only glorious, it is also tragic. It is subjected to the laws of finitude and destruction. It is suffering and sighing with us. No one who has ever listened to the sounds of nature with sympathy can forget their tragic melodies," Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations.
Lutheran professor and theologian Paul Tillich wrote this sermon drawing on the inspiration of the Psalms. He said that "The glory of nature is not a shallow beauty."
It's an easy thing to get caught up in living our daily lives, distracted by all of the things that fill it. Our fears and worries and circumstances overtake all of our every thoughts and spare moments. Yet, nature does cry out for us to pay attention.
But what does it say?
As Professor Tillich said, it is beautiful but tragic. There is life and there is death, there's no way around it. The world is passing away.
This is not something to try to talk you into going on a tour with, but rather something while you are on a tour, if you should chose one of our great tour packages, it is something to carry with you and think about.
In our better moments we think about our "bucket lists" and things we want to do before we leave this world. Perhaps visiting Sweden or Scandinavia is on there. Going places is always a great way to check off experiences and accomplish something.
Going down the block can be just as meaningful, taking a deep breath can be just as enlightening.
And so to end this little reflection, I am not saying I don't want you to tour Sweden. I sure do. But when you tour Sweden open your hearts, open your minds, listen for what God, the world, nature has to say to you. Then you will look to Lady Nature (who is as much as a kid sister as a good old mother, someone you can play with, so Francis used to say) with sympathy- you see the hurting world and you hurt- but you also see the radiating beauty, and affirm that within yourself.