May 24, 2021
Psalm 104:24-34, 35
Broadway UMC in Maryville
Smoky Mountain District
24 How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.[a]
DevotionIn his celebrated work, "God's Trombones," poet James Weldon Johnson has God say, "I'm lonely; I'll make me a world."
Suppose an angel overheard God's remark and responded, "That's not a good idea, God. Sure, you could create a beautiful world with majestic mountains, vast oceans, and abundant forests. You could create a multitude of plants and animals to thrive in that world, and you could spend hours enjoying them. But I know you, God. You wouldn't be content until you created beings in your own image, beings with whom you could have fellowship, beings to whom you would reveal your law and to whom you would impart the gift of free will. Big mistake, God. It wouldn't be long before these creatures would rebel against their Creator. And even if you sent your own Son to save them, they would probably find a way to kill him. No, God, don't bring all that sorrow upon yourself. A lot of things are way worse than a little loneliness."
I imagine God would reply, "You aren't telling me anything I don't already know." And the miracle of creation would begin.
Bishop William Willamon once commented that we worship a God who wanted a family. The writer of the 104th Psalm knows that he is part of that family and he rejoices in that identity. He marvels at the scope and grandeur of God's creation, including the multitude of living creatures which are sustained by God's benevolent care. And he is moved simply to sing praise to the God who gives him breath and life.
We know that we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick. We are to combat injustice and rid the land of racism and prejudice. We are to promote peace and protect the planet. But sometimes we need to pause in our labors to simply praise the God who chose us to be a part of the family for whom this marvelous world was created. Like the Psalmist, may we sing praise to our no longer lonely God as long as we live, and rejoice in God's tender care.