I had heard him, I had seen him at a distance until finally, I saw him close enough to get a picture. That is the woodpecker which I posted a picture of on Facebook the other day.
When we first moved into our house at the edge of the woods in Dingwall we would hear the drumming sound of the woodpeckers high up in the trees. I believe they make this noise as they hammer at the trees to release insects from them for food. Very clever and very well designed for the task being equipped with a skull hard enough to absorb the blows, equivalent of a pile driver. Then one day we saw a pair of them, again high in the trees, but the glimpse was enough to see their beauty and to create a desire to see them a bit closer. Until, finally, one landed on a feeder in our garden and now returns daily for a share of the peanuts.
I don’t know what it is but, when things like this happen, some of us are determined to get a picture of the bird or animal for ourselves. Of course there are plenty of pictures of woodpeckers in books or on the internet. Most are far better than mine due to the superior camera equipment which more professional photographers tend to invest in. But this is my picture. I am pleased with it because I took it and it gives me some personal satisfaction.
I wonder how we picture God? Perhaps, we heard of him first. We knew plenty of people who had experienced this God. Who made much talk of him and even went to church and worshipped him for themselves. They would say that they had heard God. Maybe then we want to get a closer glimpse. Just enough to satisfy our curiosity. But having done that the beauty of God seems to compel us to want more. To have our own picture, our experience, of what he is like in all of his splendour and glory!
But, some may ask, how can you see God? Are you not just projecting something of your imagination onto that which you believe is God? A valid point but, for many people; God is the one who, having revealed something of his nature, draws them to him.
According to Kenneth Boa, there are several ways that we can say that we see God, including:
God’s World, His Word, His Works, and His Ways
In his world he is revealed in the beauty of creation. In his Word he speaks of his laws and enlightens us of his being, in His Works he redeems, protects and provides. And His Ways are loving and compassionate desiring that none should perish but that all should come to him. (John3:16-17)
Boa goes on to say that our capacity to love God is related to our image of God. So, someone else’s picture may reveal just enough for us to want our own image of God. An image which is true and focussed on his world, his word, his works and his ways will reveal his beauty and we may gaze on it always for it has been revealed to us, personally, by his love as revealed in Jesus Christ.
God’s Worthship (William Temple)
Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of the imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose – and of all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy of that self-centerdness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
(For the director of music. A psalm of David.)
Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Ps 19:2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
Ps 19:3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Ps 19:4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, Ps 19:5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. Ps 19:6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
Ps 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Ps 19:9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. Ps 19:10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. Ps 19:11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Ps 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Ps 19:13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
 Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical an Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation (Michigan: Zondervan, 2001), 154-163