Psalm 19 speaks of the witness of the whole of Creation to the glory of God. As people increasingly cut themselves off from the natural world (as Isaac Asimov predicted in his book Caves of Steel) they are often hiding from the Creator as He is revealed in His Creation. So we should find ways of allowing Creation to speak in our premises and in our gatherings. Most churches tap into the beauty of flowers, but still and moving images of other wonders of Creation can also help, from sunsets to starry skies, to seascapes and storms. The massive grandeur of the created world reminds us all of the greatness and power of its Creator.

To this idea I shamelessly add PUPPIES AND ALPACAS. Very many people (although I recognise not all) cannot resist smiling at puppies and kittens and cute animals like alpacas. So I don’t apologise that a number of my children’s talks feature our dog and her puppies and that our Family Fun Day brings alpacas and pygmy goats to our church gardens. Research suggests that being present at the miracle of a birth evokes a deep spiritual response in most people. Babies and furry animals can similarly inspire warm affection and beyond that a sense of the wonder of life.