By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
24 Lord, you have done so many things!
You made them all so wisely!
The earth is full of your creations!
25 And then there’s the sea, wide and deep,
with its countless creatures—
living things both small and large.
26 There go the ships on it,
and Leviathan, which you made, plays in it!
27 All your creations wait for you
to give them their food on time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled completely full!
29 But when you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to dust.
30 When you let loose your breath, they are created,
and you make the surface of the ground brand-new again.
31 Let the Lord’s glory last forever!
Let the Lord rejoice in all he has made!
32 He has only to look at the earth, and it shakes.
God just touches the mountains, and they erupt in smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I’m still alive.
34 Let my praise be pleasing to him;
I’m rejoicing in the Lord!
Psalm 104:24-34, Common English Bible
This is a beautiful Psalm of praise to God for all of creation. The earlier verses, not included in the reading for today, detailed the wonders of creation, and how the ecology of creation cares for itself, providing food for all God’s creatures. Verse 24 speaks to the wisdom of God’s creation.
We are to care for creation, because God gave us that instruction in Genesis 1. We are to care for creation because the Lord God made it all. We have seen the effects of what happens to the earth when we abuse it as we see the effects of climate change. We see areas with droughts as grass requiring water is planted in deserts, floods as fossil fuels raise the temperature of the earth and melt the glaciers. We have seen polluted water where fish cannot survive. We have seen decreases in pollinating insects, especially bees, which will decrease the food we have to eat. Populations of the smallest creatures are decreasing as we try to keep them out of our environment.
And yet, as the pandemic continues and we sit at home, rather than in our cars, we are watching the earth come back to life, polluted waters clear, animals come back to the streets. God had great wisdom in creating the earth, and God made it so that it could recover. As anyone who has plowed a field, then left it fallow for a year has seen, the wildness will quickly return. My parents visited Mount St. Helens 2 years after the volcano erupted. They expected a black mass of lava, but were amazed to see how much plant life had already recovered and was growing and healthy.
God is good. We need to care for God’s good earth because we love God and love all that God has created. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul! Praise the Lord!