Sunday, August 09, 2015
Sunday Afternoon Tea - The God of the Duck-Billed Platypus
When you think of the words Father God, what comes to you mind? Who comes to mind? A warm loving Father? The first Person of the Trinity? Abba?
Or perhaps God the Father to you is a stern Holy Taskmaster just waiting for you to mess up so he can whomp you on the head with an "I told you so!".
Well, the Bible tells us the Father is both warm and loving but He is indeed Holy. But the Father, being part of the Trinity and all, is manifested in the Word by all the descriptions of God.
We know that God in the Person of the Holy Spirit can grieve deeply. We know God cries. Jesus wept for His friend and Jerusalem. We know God takes pleasure in His perfect creation for He said "It is Good". We know God can be a bit on the sarcastic side as deliciously and wonderfully portrayed beginning in Job Chapter 38 (some of my favorite chapters of Scripture).
God cooked a fish breakfast on the beach for His friends. God loved little children. God gave Peter and all of us a second chance... many second chances when you come to think of it.
But did you ever think of God laughing? Much like the famous Francis Hook artwork which so wonderfully portrays the many facets of the emotions of Christ? One of his most famous is "Smiling Christ".
I have written many times that I find myself close to God in nature. I loved picnics by Lake Michigan and I loved hiking the trails of the forests and walking through the bird sanctuary and the Chicago Aquarium and the Detroit Zoo's butterfly display. I still enjoy sitting by the same pond at the park where my mother and I took bread for the ducks... and later the two of us included a young Stephanie.
I am amazed at the early purple flowers peeking through the snow in my yard each spring and the trees as they discard their green (shocking!) and share with us their colorful undergarments of red and gold and chartreuse and burgundy come autumn. God designed it all that way you know.
I enjoy sitting on my deck surrounded by the container flowers I planted and the forest God planted. When the mosquitoes are not present. I see God in the tall golden cornfields when I take the scenic route into town. Seeds planted and grown and ready for harvest. Just as they have for millennia.
As a child I anticipated Sunday evenings when the Wide World of Disney was going to show one of their famous nature programs. My children and I enjoyed all kinds of programs about animals and forests and mountains and oceans and nature throughout the years.
I saw God in real life nature and that which was shown on screen. Still do. Always will.
I was thinking recently about one of those nature programs that was from a Christian perspective. I say Christian for those are the programs which view nature as a creation of God rather than having come from an amoeba.
The program was talking about a rather unusual animal. Well, to be honest, a really bizarre looking creation. That was the duck-billed platypus. I must admit that my only relationship (so to speak) with that species was from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Dr. Bill Platypus and his family including Ana Platypus who was friends with Daniel Striped Tiger.
And yes... I was am and always will be a Mr. Rogers groupie. But I digress...
On that nature program, when they were showing the adventures of a real life platypus, the narrator said something quite amazing. Something that brought words to what I have always thought about God. He said that the duck-billed platypus is the proof that God has a sense of humor! For it looks as if it were made of spare parts from others in the animal kingdom.
How cool is that? Can't you see the Father during creation looking over to the Son and the Spirit and getting a smile on His face? Then saying there will come a day when people will say all of THIS is by chance so let's throw in an animal that will make them scratch their human heads and wonder. So He (they) created the duck-billed platypus. I love it!
So here is what I want you to do. The next time you get to thinking perhaps God is only full of rules and standards that one can never live up to (not forgetting that we can't... which is why Jesus had to live and die and be resurrected for us). When you have the gloomies and wonder if God understands at all. When life has you down.
Think of that duck-billed platypus. Google yourself up some photos and descriptions. Sip your early morning coffee or your afternoon tea... keeping it carefully away from your computer or tablet, of course... and laugh. :)
And never ever ever forget that the God who loves you is the God of the duck-billed platypus.
Image: Online with no photographer indicated. Should one show up, I will be happy to have proper credit given.