A high-definition aerial photograph of Grafton, taken in May 2016.
A high-definition aerial photograph of Grafton, taken in May 2016. Nearmap

Spiritual Matters: Looking down on God's creation

IT WAS a spectacular campsite: Towering sand dunes and a large flat area to pitch tents and set a camp fire.

It took little time for our four-vehicle party traversing the awesome Simpson Desert to establish themselves in this isolated and beautiful spot. We then climbed to the top of the nearest sand-dune and drank in the beauty of the desert in the soft glow of the late afternoon sun.

Another vehicle turned in off the track. A young couple, Harry and Mary, introduced themselves and in no time at all we connected. Harry then unpacked his prized drone and skilfully sent it aloft. At varying heights up to about 1500 feet he took photos of the endless desert dunes and of our campsite nestled snugly between protective walls. Later he e-mailed some of these photos to us.

Before parting the next day, we exchanged particulars and insisted that if and when these intrepid travellers reach the NSW north coast, they must call in and stay.

Last week they did just that and we renewed our friendship over a couple of days. It was a special time spent with these young people from Germany and Belgium. We showcased our own special area and then on the Saturday, headed to Yamba for the annual Hot Rod show. It was a great day among those awesome cars. And then, upon returning home, Harry showed us photos he'd shot earlier as he flew his drone over our farm and over the massive roadwork corridor of the new motorway near our house. He'd also taken aerial photos of the huge display of cars in Yamba. We were so impressed at the quality of the drone's Go-Pro images. They were superb. I've taken the occasional aerial photo myself when flying over the Clarence Valley, and often wished that everybody could have the opportunity to see the beauty of the Valley as I can. I've toyed with the idea of buying a Go-Pro camera - but the cost has always deterred me. But these new drones are surely the key to opening up a whole new visual perspective for people - independently of the need to actually jump in an aircraft in order to see the world from above for ourselves.

In popular imagery it's common for us to see God as an anthropomorphic being inhabiting the space above the earth and looking down on His creation and the creatures he's made. This has been quite a useful way of picturing God through the centuries.

When astronauts in the international space station look down upon earth, its beauty inevitably moves them. They don't see the pettiness and strife, the broken relationships and hatreds or much of the poor husbandry of the world's resources. No, they see the beauty of the planet. And marvel.

I believe God does the same. His view of the world is coloured by love. This much is clear from the Genesis account of creation for as He created each element, we're told He looked at what he'd made and "saw that it was good”.

Yes, the world is a truly awesome and beautiful place. It brings joy to the Father's heart. But I think this satisfaction is nothing compared to the greatest joy he experiences - when he sees people.

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