We stood on the banks of the Rio Grande, just yards away from the threshold of the Santa Elena Canyon, with tears in our eyes. Without taking her eyes off the sunset in the canyon, my wife said to me, "I've never seen anything more beautiful." I agreed with her. And my heart leapt with praise for our God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
We spent one day of our anniversary trip hiking and exploring Big Bend National Park, and this was our last thing before leaving. We pulled up to the canyon just as the sun set within its walls. The view was unlike any I have ever seen. The picture above simply cannot capture the beauty of the moment. It moved us both profoundly. It was easy to feel the charge in the air between us. The beauty in God's creation was undeniable, and it was emotional.
Theologically, God's glory is the beautiful, created radiance and light surrounding his revelation of himself. God's glory comes from God himself, it does not belong to anyone else, and no one else can possess it or produce it. For this reason we talk of reflecting God's glory. As created beings, we can only reflect his glory, we cannot produce it. When we do good works, love others, or obey God's word, we do not display his glory, we only reflect it.
The rest of God's creation is the same way. The sun setting in Santa Elena Canyon was not God's glory, but merely a reflection of it. The light of the sun on those walls let us see a glimpse, though as if through a dim mirror, the glory of my God. It made me anticipate the day I experience his glory myself all the more.
I pray my life reflects God's glory in the same way, though those moments are more fleeting than the sunset that evening.