Within the first few days of School@Home, I was asked by one of my students “Why does everyone keep telling us to go outside?” Mindful of the need for students not to be glued to their screens while learning from home, we had been setting work, starting discussions and suggesting free time activities focused outdoors. This set me to reflecting, why do I see it as such an essential thing for my students to be outside?
It is true that fresh air and sunlight are needed, and that being outside often promotes movement and exercise. Spending time outdoors surrounded by nature has been shown to have many health benefits; it’s even good for your eyesight! But while these are all wonderful reasons to step outside, there is something deeper and more important to be gained from this.
God created the world to be intricate but at the same time, expansive. When I take a walk each day, I can appreciate not just the order behind what I am seeing, but the intrinsic beauty as well. Appreciating creation leads me to worship the Creator; to thank Him for the world He has created, to praise Him for the wonder of it and to acknowledge His power in creating it, purely from words!
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them.Psalm 8:3-4
Last week, in Year 7 Science we observed the characteristics of different living things to help us learn how to scientifically classify them. Students observed their pets, insects and birds in their backyards, and examined the intricacies of different leaves. Our observations may have been useful in allowing us to identify and classify living things, but these observations can hold a greater purpose of pointing us towards God. God’s creation also helps us to reflect on His characteristics. A friend of mine once said that he surfed because the power of the waves reminded him that God was much more powerful than even the biggest wave.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.Romans 1:20
When we see power in the wind and waves we can be reminded that God is immensely more powerful than these. The disciples experienced this themselves when they were caught in a storm, which Jesus ordered to be calm. And there are many other characteristics of God which his creation reveals; His beauty, glory, wisdom, presence, creativity and loving care.
So as lockdown continues, I encourage everyone in our Kuyper community to put aside the screens as regularly as possible, take advantage of the benefits of time spent outside and while you’re doing so, reflect on the purpose of God’s amazing creation. Let it prompt us to praise Him for all that He is.