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Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

For the beauty of the earth.

It was a scenic feast. A smorgasbord of natures’ finest offerings.

We have just returned from a 4,000km round trip encompassing the Beyond Blue – Beyond Bitumen – fundraising rally.

Our route took us from Maclean to Goulburn for the start of the rally – via Gloucester, across the spectacular Barrington Range, across to Mudgee and then south to Goulburn to meet the rest of the teams registered for the rally.
From Goulburn, 35 rally cars of all descriptions were then directed through a veritable maze of dusty gravel roads to Jindabyne – then back to Canberra, west to Tumut and Wagga Wagga, then on to Albury and Tumbarumba – where the rally officially ended.
Pace notes and accurate navigation ensured the success of each day’s planned route as we weaved our way across spectacular alpine landscapes and vast rural plains to the west on local access roads and farm tracks. We saw scenery that very few others would encounter. And that in itself was novel and exciting! Just getting to the start line in Goulburn was a journey of unceasing delight. I vividly recall heading west out of Gloucester in the cool of a bright sunny morning after a refreshing sleep – climbing steadily to the top of the magnificent Barrington Range and its National Park where the bitumen gave way to gravel and our sure-footed Range Rover proved its worth. On either side of the road, majestic trees slid past resplendent with the most beautiful coloured bark while the understory was ablaze with vivid yellow shrubs. Breathtaking!
But then we passed through a gate into the next shire and the grandeur of the mountain scenery opened up – leaving us awestruck.

From that point on, as we descended the western slopes of the Range, the views held us spellbound – and continued to enthrall for the rest of the day – until we pulled up at our motel at Mudgee.

Again, in the refreshing cool of the morning the next day, we cruised through more magic countryside – the views constantly changing as we traversed little-known backroads awash with colour everywhere we looked. The deep purple of the Patterson’s Curse (Salvation Jane) was splendid; the bright yellows of the wild daisies and dandelions likewise; and then oceans of white daisies carpeted the undulating pastures – leaving memorable images implanted in our minds and memories like inspiring works of art viewed through the panoramic glass of our travelling art studio.

This is the physical world – imparting immeasurable joy and appreciation to the observer, without expecting anything in return.
These sensations of delight were woven into every grateful recognition of beauty in our travels. And I haven’t the time or space to even begin to describe the breathtaking alpine vistas we viewed later!

All this has its counterpart in the journey we call life. Here too, our spirits are touched in a profound way. For it is surely impossible for us to experience such wonders in the world around us and fail to recognise the author of such beauty. Surely it’s impossible to take all this beauty for granted and fail to recognise the creative hand of a Being far greater than you and I.
Just as I cannot look at a magnificent work of art and dismiss it as some random accident involving an explosion in which a mix of different coloured paints and a collection of brushes somehow collided, and out of the chaos, incredible order, design and beauty appeared, so I cannot countenance or make sense of the wild theories that dismiss the hand of a creator-God in the act of creation!

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