Caught by the Sound of Praise

July 28, 2010 | 26 comments

I prop my feet on the rim of the boat, with a fishing pole resting between bare toes — even though Dad has told me since I was ten years old that no one’s ever going to catch a fish with her feet.

If Dad sees me doing it this time, he doesn’t say so. Maybe it’s because we’re both hypnotized by the lulling voice of creation.

Hands of nature clap out praise. And we’re captured here — on the cusp of day with night marching in. To the west, the sun sinks below pine, bleeding out orange across the sky and streaking a reflection like melted orange sherbet.

Behind us, the moon rises — a perfect circle cutting a hole in the sky.

I breathe it in deep — this moment — until it fills me full with the scent of pine and burning campfire logs.

Something tugs the line, so I reel, but the only thing dangling from my hook is a wad of weeds. And I’m OK with that. Because I’ve been right-hooked myself. I’ve been caught and captured by the One who brings rest and peace.

I flip open the bail and flick my tipped hook back onto a reflecting monastery that carries peace on the ripples. With a “plop,” the lure sinks under the surface. I catch a few crappie, but I wouldn’t have cared if I hooked even one.

For I’m perfectly smitten. And by the sounds of things, the rest of the world is, too.

Jesus once said that if his followers fell silent, the stones would cry out.

And out on a Lund boat, 200 feet from shore as the world spins the dust off the day, I’m pretty sure the stones were a-singing.

“Listen to that!” Dad says. “Those loons work pretty hard to get airborne.”

Over his left shoulder, a loon is beating wings on water, lifting body and feathered praise ever Higher. And to me it sounds like applause for Heaven.

I hear it in the ripples, too, as they clap, clap, clap against the boat — polite applause from tea-party ladies.

Earlier that day, on shore, we’d spotted three woodpeckers, drumming on a wizened, hollowed tree like hard-hatted men with jackhammers. At Mom’s ruby-filled feeder, a hummingbird beat his wings — something like 53 times per second. I couldn’t hear the sound, but oh, imagine the cacophony if you could magnify it!

When the breeze picked up that day, I heard a stadium of crisp praise, roaring through leaves and limbs.

The Good Book says the mountains and hills will burst into song, and that the trees of the field will clap their hands.

So, I’ll join with the earth and sing my praises, too. Can you hear us smiling here?

Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp as she invites her community to consider spiritual practices that draw us closer to the heart of Jesus. Lately, we’ve been talking about true Rest and what it means to listen and hear God.

Our family spent a few days north, on the lake where my parents spend summer days. I heard Him in the oaks and the pines and the birch, and in the rippling cathedral of a quiet lake. I’m revived … and yes, HOOKED on the King of Creation! I join the chorus!

Earlier this week, among my Facebook friends, I asked the question: “What does the applause for the King of Creation sound like to you?”

They heard this song:

Cattle bellerin’
Breeze in corn leaves
Crickets chirping
Children giggling
Pounding rain on pavement
And even the silence sings a song
(Revelation 8:1)
Because the seal was opened,
and heaven drew in its breath for half an hour!

Yes, awe has a sound all its own when we are rendered silent by the One who strums the strings, and weaves the melody of all Creation.

Tell me kind friends, what do you hear?

by | July 28, 2010 | 26 comments


  1. Kelly Langner Sauer

    this is a wonderful post, Jennifer… sometimes, when I take pictures, this is what I feel, that it is my praise, that somehow this is why I live…

  2. Graceful

    Jennifer you are giving me a breath of Heaven today. And I need it. Gorgeous writing — melting orange sherbet, reflecting monastery. I sigh out loud. And your pictures, the love and laughter, that amazing hummingbird! I could comment all day on this one!

  3. Lisa notes...

    What a beautiful post. Applause for Heaven…I hear it everywhere, too, even in the tap-tap-tap of my fingers on this keyboard. God is so great! May everything give him praise.

  4. nathan

    Awesome post, I love it!

  5. Melissa Runcie | Madabella

    i so love that we see His glory around us…oh how what a day of rejoicing it will be when we see the fullness of His wonder…i have been "in heaven" this week through my rest study and my heart longs for that day to see our Savior…

  6. Lyla Lindquist

    53 times per second. And of course I wonder if you stood to count.

    I'm covered in pine twigs and needles, sweat and spider web as I type this, just in from climbing up into a Ponderosa that partly fell over onto a lake home. The applause sounded a little different from inside a wind-broken tree. But it was there.

    I wanted to stay there, sun glistening on the ripples, old farmer out on the dock casting his line and wife at the dining room table dabbling in watercolors and bringing a hibiscus to life on her paper.

    Glad for your days in the clapping.

  7. Rosario

    I'm hearing that I need to be more attentive to my surroundings. Be still for a moment and savor the marvellous work of art that God has created around us.

  8. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    Oh Jennifer, the same scripture resonated with me as I took my walk early this morning. That's when I got busy and joined the chorus, praising my God for who He is and what He has done over the years of my life. But first, I listened:

    to the breeze blowing the small leaves of the mesquite trees
    to the birds singing their morning songs
    to the streams of rain water as they rushed through the drainage ditches below the sidewalk

    And then I looked up and SAW creation praising God even in its silence:

    in the low clouds hovering around the mountain peaks
    in the majestic purple mountains on the far horizon
    in the sun breaking through the slowly disappearing clouds
    and in the bright colors of the blooming cacti.

    I wasn't going to be outdone, so I joined in!

    Lovely post!

  9. ~*Michelle*~

    what a beautiful post…..thank you for inviting us to share your experience(s)

    I hear Heaven in so many places….some of my favorites are listening to my daughter breath as she sleeps beside me….I hear it when I hear a mama goat call her baby to nurse….I hear the angels singing when the pink sun is setting over the treeline.

    Thank you for this burst of fresh air that my soul so needed!!!!!

  10. Jenny

    I hear Him in the quiet moments you share with your father out on the water. That relationship is to be treasured, and the love listened to; not all have it with their earthly father.

  11. Amy Sullivan

    My favorite picture is the person created out of leaves, and flowers. Beautiful post.

  12. Susan DiMickele

    Just lovely. These picture alone warmed my soul today.

  13. Epiphany

    One of my most favourite of your posts. It was poetry.

  14. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Kelly — I hear the praise in your photos. Every. Single. Time.

    Hi Michelle! Thank you for your kind words.

    Lisa — How true. We are called to praise Him in all that we do. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God," Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

    Hey Nathan — Thanks for dropping by. I'll be over to your place soon. I see you're part of the High Calling community, too. Awesome!

    Melissa — Sounds like a perfectly beautifully place to be.

    And Lyla — That sounds like LESS than a perfecty beautifully place. 🙂 But with your Soul-Eyes and Soul-Ears, you always manage to "see" things that most of the rest of us miss. (Love the picture in my mind of the woman painting. I can *hear* the beauty in the brushstrokes.)

  15. Runner Mom

    This was beautiful. Period. The photos just took my heart to His throne where I thanked for the beauty of His world, for the joy of children, and for the peace that He give abundantly. Amen!

  16. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Rosario — I feel the same way. I know that I miss so much that happens all around me. I'm thankful for my two girls, who see the beauty that I miss. And children don't miss much, do they? 😉

    Michelle — Saw some goats at the county fair today, and thought of your words in this space.

    Hi Kay — Thank you for dropping this bit of poetry in my comment box. And yes … NOT TO BE OUTDONE! That's it right there.

    Amy — I loved that photo, too. Lydia and Anna and I gathered shells and leaves and cattails and pine needles and made artwork on the backs of old pizza boxes. 🙂

    Susan and Epiphany — Thank you, both. Your comments make me smile.

  17. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Oh yeah, and Lyla? Yep, I counted the beating of the wings. It's tricky, but each time I came up with pretty much the same number. So I figured 53 was safe.

    (OK — I actually checked out a hummingbird website. Still 53beats/sec? Amazing.)

  18. Karen

    What a picture your words have painted…complete with a background symphony not sung by human voices…awesome sharing!

  19. mom2six

    Lingering in the silence, reading words of praise, my heart enlarges, bursting with gratitude for the God who created such gifts of beauty – people and nature – all giving voice to His grace and His glory. Jennifer, your photos and words here are music exalting Jesus. Thank you for sharing the gift.

  20. Janis@Open My Ears Lord

    Oh What beauty you have captured in the sunset reflecting off the water and the rising moon above the campfire. I can smell the logs burning and I am transported to the mountains–relaxed.
    His praises are loudly sung by all of creation. That must be why I find Him so often there.

  21. fotoshirl

    Your blog is a symphony of praise

  22. Linda

    Jennifer – this is so moving. First of all, it took me back to my childhood and fishing with my Dad. Oh such wonderful memories.
    Your words are so lovely. I could "hear" creation singing praises.
    I must come and visit often.

  23. Jennifer

    Creation is the greatest symphony ever written. Love the pictures, the laughter, the simplicity and incredible complexity that is God's majesty.

  24. Connie

    Ah Jennifer, you captured it all perfectly! I live in Western Washington, in a wee cabin on a lake…felt like you were here…

  25. B. Meandering

    There's nothing like a lake with 3 generations communing together and enjoying God's gifts. You're fortunate to still have 3 –I'm down to 2 for awhile.

  26. n. davis rosback

    i like campfires


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