Faith sometimes leads believers to focus on spiritual realities to the neglect of earthly cares. The psalmist never does so. For the psalmist, a vital awareness of God reminds believers of the spiritual significance of their everyday lives and their kinship with every living creature. Modern people tend to think of the “spiritual” as one thing and the “worldly” as another, likewise the miraculous and the ordinary. However, the psalmist holds them both together, rejoicing in their interconnection. All life, all creation, is a single tapestry or web as seen through the psalmist’s eyes. Even the sky “pours forth speech” (Ps. 19:2) on a daily basis, proclaiming God’s glory.
As sensible people, we view such ideas skeptically or purely poetically. Yet the psalmist insists that the sun and the moon do offer God praise, that the living creatures of the sea and land also praise God, and that the birds and trees and hills truly praise the Lord’s name. This is more than metaphor. The psalmist understands all creation as God’s handiwork. The world is a mighty choir of voices, each one honoring its Creator in its own way but joining all the other voices in glorious harmony too. All things in creation provide holy testimony to God, both by a kind of speaking and also by doing, by fulfilling their appointed roles established by God in the beginning. Even “fire and hail, snow and frost” have their divinely mandated parts to play. Moreover, the gathering of a people lies at the heart of God’s work in creation. Only as part of the vast sweep of God’s cosmic drama of redemption does our human vocation become plain.
Creator God, in you all things live, move, and have their being. Raise up a horn for your people once more, that we may join in the chorus of praise being sung all around us. Amen.
The beginning of the New Year reminds us of God’s love for all peoples through the celebration of Epiphany. Isaiah uses imagery of a wedding and a garden to declare that the beauty arising from Israel will go to all nations. The psalmist praises the Lord on behalf of everything and everyone on the earth, including men and women from all peoples. Paul proclaims that Christ fulfills the expectations of Israel; he is the open door for all to become children of God. In Luke, Simeon and Anna speak prophetically over the infant Jesus in the Temple, declaring him the light to the Gentiles. God’s promises made in love are fulfilled in love.
• Read Isaiah 61:10–62:3. How are you daily becoming Zion, a person of justice?
• Read Psalm 148. How does your connection to God connect you to creation?
• Read Galatians 4:4-7. How confident are you that God listens to your prayer?
• Read Luke 2:22-40. When have you experienced sacrifice as gain rather than loss?
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