Psalm 29, 1-6
Something to read
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
King James Version
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendour.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
In the aftermath of earthquakes that have devastated the lives of millions and storms that have ravaged communities across the globe, it is uncomfortable to read of God in the thunder and shaking land.
Scripture speaks of the fragility of our lives in a world of mighty forces that can topple the strongest trees and sink the greatest armadas. For the writer of our psalm creation could really bite.
But that power became a sign of God's presence rather than God's absence. It is God who shouts in the thunder and who shakes the earth.
How then does our theology cope with natural forces that unleash devastation? In earthquake and tsunami, in hurricane and blizzard, where do we find God?
Is God the one who sends creation's forces to humble us? Is creation's danger a consequence of God's creative choices; if planets require shifting plates that move upon a liquid core then the consequences will be collision which build mountains but also bring earthquakes which unleash tsunamis? Does God wonder why we choose to live in places of high risk?
But do we have choices anyway when the planet is crowded and nations have grown in place across centuries? And is God not with us as we cower for shelter, run for our lives and rescue and rebuild?
Something to do
Bring yourself up to date on the aftermath of some of the natural disasters of recent months (Haiti, Pakistan, New Orleans, New Zealand, Japan – start with this website's coverage). Is there an appeal running that you could still give some money to?
Something to pray
Be with all who face the terrors of the raging oceans and the shaking ground.
Be with those who climb over the wreckage looking for the lost.
Be with those who have to return to a place they once knew to pick up shattered lives, rebuild broken homes, and begin all over again.
Give them courage and a new hope.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers.