Background The middle part of Psalm 104 focuses on God’s arrangement of creation so that it can flourish. The earth, water, and heavenly lights of the first part of the Psalm are all part of this environment. Water gives drink to the animals and brings life to the lowly grass and the great cedars of Lebanon, which then provide food and homes for birds and cattle. The low lights of night allow the forest creatures to sneak out, but also there is daytime when predators can see and feed. This description includes humans as part of this broader creation, but not the center of it, God is that center. The reading today creates a picture of God. God is wise and understands the complexity of his creation’s needs. God is caring and has provided for those needs abundantly. God accommodates diversity within a global connectedness, predator and prey, birds, man and Leviathan, all delightfully distinct and interdependent.
Reading Psalm 104:10-26
Reflection. Humans may not be the center, but we are not left out of God’s caring. Vs 14-15 “ You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.” The Psalmist thinks it is important that God doesn’t just provide our food, but also things for our happiness, comfort and strength. What God has put into your life to provide happiness comfort and strength? Last night in the wind, I was sure gratefully aware of the walls of my home sheltering me. I’m sure we all have a list too long to say all of it, but that shouldn’t stop us from saying some of it and offering up thanks to God for it today.
Background Psalm 104, like Psalm 8, is an exploration of God through his creation. However, unlike most Psalms, this hymn doesn’t center around God and humans but about the world and God independent of humans. The focus is on how God has set up an interrelated creation that shows his caring and wisdom and power. Like Genesis the Psalm begins with creation of light, then land and water- these are the foundations that life will be added to. The music of the words here is amazing and so visual. You can almost see all things not forming in front of God, but swirling into existence, around and through him, with God in the center. Again, it is best read out loud!
Reading Psalm 104:1-9 (see below or read whatever version you like- this was an opportunity for the word smiths through the ages to really let go)
Reflection. This hymn begins like the two previous ones we studied- “Bless the Lord, O my Soul” and “O Lord my God”. You can almost sense the writer striving to find images and words big enough to really say what God is in all his power. This is not a request for help, or even a personal thank you. The Psalmist is stepping out of themselves and expressing the love and awe they feel for God for just being God, the creator. There is a modern movement called “rewilding” that in part refers re-adjusting yourself through getting out into the wild. There is something in us that needs to get away from humanity and just feel creation around us. These beautiful fall days, take the time to stop and just be, just be amazed by creation.
Background First of all, I’m sorry I didn’t get this out earlier. I think I had it all planned in my head and then forgot I hadn’t actually done it. Psalm 8 moves from God being aware of us to actually giving us dominion over his creation. It is important to understand that this “ruling” isn’t about our power, but our responsibility. God has put his creation into our care. We are honored and humbled. The last part of the Psalm is also one of my favorites because it shows how the old words can be seen anew with new truths for today as well. The Psalmist didn’t know about global climate change, or loss of the rainforests, or pollution. The Psalmist didn’t understand that reshaping the environment would change the species in it, potentially destroying them. He couldn’t have foreseen the power humanity now has to really control, for better or worse, the fate of all the birds and fish and animal of wild. But we know this and this Psalm is our prayer that we remember who gave us this power, and that we are called to find ways to care for God’s creation.
Reading Psalm 8:6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their[g] feet:
Reflection. The Psalm ends, as it began, with “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” It ends not talking about our power, but God’s. Still one could read the question in the middle of who is humanity that he would give us power over creation as “what were you thinking!!!” There is certainly evidence that it doesn’t seem like a wise choice to let us do what we want to with this earth. Have you ever had a teacher that had more faith in you then you did in yourself? Perhaps this is what the Psalmist felt. That we must try to live up to the astonishing faith God has in us.
I have been reading text from our website, and listening at meetings and the one phrase resonates the most with me is that our purpose is “building a community of faith”. I like the word “building”. We could say we are “becoming” or “creating” or even that we “are” a community of faith. But “building” is better I think, because it is an effort to build and is often never done- as you find out when you have a house. Building is a process, a continual process that requires people of different skills to each contribute what they can do best. You wouldn’t want to live in a house only build by plumbers or electricians and how would you get into a house only built by roofers? Jesus came to show us how to be the best human, and he was a builder. We need to be builders too. Not expecting to finish the job, but to be at the job of building. Continue reading 2013 October: Vision of our church- Kathleen →
Picture this….Game 2 of the World Series….Bottom of the 6th inning.
The St. Louis pitcher is 22 year-old Michael Wacha who has been dominating the Boston batters for 5 innings. But he walks Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz comes to bat. With two strikes on him he hits a line drive to left field that barely clears the wall, called the “Green Monster”, for a home run and the Red Sox go ahead 2 to 0. YES!
But it wasn’t enough. The Cardinals eventually scored two more runs and won the game 4 to 2. Big Papi gave his all, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
Sometimes life is like that, our best effort does not seem to be enough. Games are lost, plans go amiss, projects fail, we lose our way. In the way the world judges, we don’t succeed.
I’m thinking however, that God sees things differently. The dedication we bring to the work we do in God’s name, our unselfish efforts and our commitment to lead a life of Christ’s calling will make it possible for him to use our efforts to bring comfort and justice to a troubled world. Continue reading October 2013: Vision of our Church-Dave →
As I reflect on what brought me to church once I was out on my own and had a choice about church, I keep coming back to two things. First, the awe I experience each time people worship together and open themselves to the possibility of transformation and deeper belief in the power of God. And second, the opportunity to be (and learn to be better at being) the hands and feet of Jesus together, in today’s world.
As a church, we are many, and have an incredible opportunity to show the love of God through our service to each other when in need, and to any of the many less fortunate in our community, country and world. The power of one is mighty, with God’s help; but I ask you to consider the power of 100…
Continue reading October 2013: Visions of our church- Sandy →