Thursday, December 11, 2014

On the Extraordinary Diversity of Life

Have you ever stopped to consider the incredible diversity of bird and animal life on our planet?  While on various road trips spanning my lifetime, I’ve seen some extraordinary things.  There was the beautiful majestic bald eagle, with a its six-foot wing span, swooping down across the road in front of me somewhere in northern Kansas.  There was the single file of snorting elk galloping across the road in Yellowstone National Park as if to be demanding “Stop the car, we’re crossing here.”  There was the singular elegance of a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs exploring the wilderness off to the right as I drove down the mountain road in Glacier National Park.  There was the huge flock of American coots as they first float peacefully by in a pond in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, but then suddenly, like an airplane on a runway, take off running across the surface of the water as they prepare to take flight.  Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a zoo in Chicago and was overwhelmed with what I saw there.  As I strolled around with my camera, I saw everything from this very large rhinoceros, with its tough gray/brown leathery skin and massive horn popping up between the eyes, to this sleepy giraffe so tall that the zookeepers had to hoist a bag of hay high up in a tree in order to allow him to comfortably feed himself, and then to this flock of brightly colored flamingos with their long, lanky legs and weird bills. 

The diversity of life also includes us human beings, of course.  We are beings with the ability to think, to reason, to use our brains, our hands, and our feet to accomplish things that no other being can.  We are beings with a moral compass giving us the ability to distinguish right from wrong.  We are beings with the ability to choose to act based not just on instinct, but on laws that we are able to formulate in order to live in harmony with each other and with our surroundings.  Scientists say that our world has evolved over many millions of years in order to get to our present state.  They say that the biological makeup, or DNA, has taken different pathways over this span of time that ultimately resulted in the extraordinary diversity.  I’m running out of adjectives.  Suffice it to say that God can be described by all of the adjectives I’ve used here, but I have reserved one for Him:  Awesome!  Let us stop, smell the roses, and give him high praise, glory, and worship for being who He is and let us give Him our thanks for doing all that He has done for us.  Amen.

The photo is of a flamingo at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

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