The view of God from a deer stand

Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving day 2014

 

It may not occur to those who are unfamiliar with hunting that it can be a spiritual experience. To some who feel hunting is somehow immoral the idea may be offensive. However, if one stops and thinks about what’s involved, spending time in silence out in God’s creation, one will realize it is a great opportunity to experience the creation and contemplate ones existence within it.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork (psalm 18(19):1)

This psalm comes to my mind every time I see the stars on a clear dark night, but the idea also applies in a broader way to all ways in which the greatness of the created world reflects it’s creator. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans teaches us that the existence of God is reflected by the creation.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)

Anytime we are able to experience the created world we have an opportunity to recognize God in it. We are of course surrounded by creation all the time. But many of us sense the greatness of creation more acutely in the great outdoors, where the natural world is less… um let’s call it domesticated. Hunting is not the only opportunity for this but it is one very suited. Unlike other outdoor activities serious hunters don’t only go out when it is warm and pleasant. Generally I rise early before dawn and get ready. As I head out to my stand or blind it is still dark. The stars are shining. Perhaps the moon is out and the first colorful rays of sunrise are beginning to show in the east.

O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless ye the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.

 O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever. (Daniel 3:59-63,71-74)

Being in the transition between summer and winter the weather varies. From warm and sunny to cold and harsh. It isn’t just the pleasant weather which is experienced. Being in a tree, swaying when strong icy piercing winds are blowing and your face is whipped with pelting snow or rain gives one a sense of the power and strength of the creator, his greatness and terrible might, perhaps even a certain sense of fear.

 O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O all ye spirits of God, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye cold and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye frost and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye ice and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. (Daniel 3:64-70)

As darkness fades, perhaps a coyote howls in the distance, the birds flit through the trees and you are all alone in forest or field. You are quite aware of your smallness within the universe of your helplessness before the face of a mighty God.

During this time in the woods your mind can’t help but wander. You inevitably contemplate life. It is a wonderful opportunity for prayer. I know of several protestants who read the bible while their sitting in the stand. This is however a distraction from hunting as it requires using the senses to read rather than watch. Here, we Catholics have an advantage; you can stuff a rosary in your mitten or pocket and pray while focusing on your surroundings.

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2 Responses to The view of God from a deer stand

  1. Wes G. says:

    Love this post, thank you!!

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