Daily reading: 30 September
Every day our lives are full of miracles.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honour and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers. You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight. They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 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 trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys. You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens. People go out to their work and to their labour until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it. These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his works - who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!
- Psalm 104 New Revised Standard Version. Click here to read the King James Version
The psalm is wonderful poetry. It gathers up the experience of a particular people in a particular land at a particular time in history. We no longer smear oil on our faces to make them shine, but what a happy image! Most of us have only ever seen lions in a zoo and goats in a farmer’s field.
But just as that world called the psalmist’s heart to worship, so the world around us inspires us to praise.
Our gardens are full of miracles. The fox that trots through the centre of London on a spring evening is as much God’s creature as the wild beasts in the Bible. The sun rises and sets. We go to our labours, part of God’s creation ourselves.
The ancient mind understood that everything was dependent on God. There is a myth of human self-sufficiency that hides that truth from us. But scratch the surface and it is blindingly obvious.
Write a psalm describing how you see God’s hand at work in creation as it appears where you live.
As long as I live I shall sing to the Lord;
I shall sing psalms to my God all my life long.
Bless the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.
Today's contributor is the Rev Roberta Rominger, a former General Secretary of the United Reformed Church.
Published on 30 September 2017