September 8, 2013

This Is My Father’s World

With Gettysburg National Military Park as our playground growing up and after visiting many of our country’s National Parks when we retired, the Ken Burns’ series on National Parks was of special interest to Nancy and me.

The series features John Muir, the most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist of the Twentieth Century. Without Muir, it is quite possible the National Park System would not exist today.

One of the most striking things about the series is the numerous quotations by park visitors expressing the notion that God reveals himself through nature. John Muir, for example, spoke often of the spirituality of Yosemite, and Bonnie Gisel, author of several books on Muir, said this about Yosemite: Here was the absolute manifestation of the divine.”

Visitors to Yosemite, Yellowstone and other National Parks frequently report that the majestic and exhilarating vistas they experience create a sense of awe and wonder that is genuinely indescribable. 

Naturalist, author and wildlife biologist, Adolph Murie described Denali National Park in Alaska like this, “It was just like being in Heaven...” Perhaps, the feeling of insignificance and the exhilaration we experience when we visit our National Parks is God’s way of describing Heaven for us. 

The beloved hymn, This Is My Father’s World, is constantly played throughout the Burns’ series. That reality is obvious in our National Parks.