Loving God Outdoors


A reflection by Professor Michael Jones

With our children happily playing at “school” (daycare), my wife and I went for a date to the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. As we strolled from shade to shade, we drank in the sunlight and feasted on the beautiful sights of flowers, streams, trees, and sky.

The whole environment produced such a lasting and always-shifting impression on my senses that I could hardly imagine anything else but what I saw, heard, smelled, and touched.

I thought to myself:

  1. How glorious are the creatures that God has made! The living things, the natural elements, and how they come together–the colors, the fragrances, the marvelous processes of growing!
  2. How glorious it is that God has given humans the ability to shape the elements and place living things in the middle of them in a way that is good for them and good for us–at the very same time! And human beings, sinners though we are, tend in just this way!

The Japanese features were incredibly beautiful. In particular, the wandering paths and steps frame an amazing variety of open-ended “spaces” in which the visitor may take a few moments and appreciate (1) and (2).

There is so much harmony among the ponds and streams, the sky and clouds, the stones and bridges, the wooden structures, it makes me wonder what historical events lead the Japanese to develop their gardening ability in a way that is so consonant God as I understand him.

The symbol of that harmony nature and life for me is Japanese architecture–the graceful combination of curves with lines and right angles.