As I went outside to turn off some water tonight, the moon was just peaking its head over the hill in the distance. It rose gradually, of course maintaining the same governed yet ungoverned pace. Anyone who can watch natural processes like the rising of the moon night in and night out and not believe in God, is in spiritual denial. The order, beauty, and complex yet perfectly functional nature of the universe clearly makes known the God of the universe. But that’s another story.

What this moon reminded me of is the opportunity we have to authentically connect with God through nature, each other, and the experiences of life. In an age of distraction led by television, social media, etc. it is easy to forget that there is a real world taking place around us. There are real trees outside, real stars in the sky, and real people we can encounter daily. When was the last time you took twenty minutes to watch the moon rise or to study the features of a tree? I am as guilty as most in indulging the impulses of constantly checking my phone. That needs to change. There is a beautiful world passing before my blind eye as I stare in the direction of an inferior man-made screen.

Nature is like a remnant of God. We, as people, made in his image, are an even more clear representation of Him (at least we strive to be). But, I know from experience that we take these remnants for granted. We don’t capitalize on enough opportunities to observe God’s beautiful handiwork. The original, unfathomable creation that hasn’t changed. It is still as beautiful as the day God created it, and so are we. Yet we will pay $15 to see a movie some imperfect soul did his best to make, but won’t truly appreciate the free majesty all around us.

Now I am not writing to make us feel guilty. Rather, I hope that we are stirred to consider taking advantage of the chances we have to engage with the real world around us. To taste the water, marvel at the trees, quiver at the thunder, and shiver to the ocean water. To fully absorb the reality of life around us and to appreciate each other. To recognize what electronic devices are, nothing more than tools to help us with some formalities of life. They are not containers of life, or a means to fulfillment. They should be given ten percent of our energy, while people and worthy pastimes are given the rest.

There is a real world happening around us. There is forgotten beauty in the profound, unable to be imitated processes of nature. And more significantly, the gifts of ourselves and those people around us. There is magic in good conversation, joy in genuine laughs, and an endless treasure of life to be discovered when we look outside and look outside ourselves.