April 27, 2021
Psalm 95:3-7 NLT
Clergy, Kendricks Creek UMC
3,For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
There is a playground near my house with a large sandy play area. The sandbox adjoins a creek that runs down into the lake. I have two little girls (ages 7 and 3), and they love this sandbox. Sand plus water is like a blank canvas for the kind of creativity that children possess in spades. Of course, my problem is that we rarely bring spades (as in the shovel variety). And so the girls use their hands. For this reason, I hate that sandbox.
But once I give up trying to convince them to slide or swing or climb on artificial play structures, I sit down and watch them work in the sand. With naught but their hands, elaborate worlds are formed. Castles and moats with dragons and princesses and unicorns adorn the landscape. Sometimes, but only when I’m paying attention, I’m amazed at the creative capacity that exists in their little minds.
Reading this Psalm, I was reminded of my girls. I saw their little hands forming mountains and rivers. I heard their squeals of delight over seemingly trivial details in their imaginative cosmos. I smelled the damp earthiness on their pantlegs from kneeling in the sandy mud. And then I was reminded of Jesus’ injunction that only those who become like little children can enter the Kingdom.
Is it a wonder to us that children can form a world from a sandbox? Or that they can build extravagant settings from Amazon boxes and toilet paper rolls? The Maker of All made us to make. We are created to be creative. And such a gift is best exercised (maybe only exercised in its fullest sense) when we are attuned to the voice that formed it all with a Word. The older we all get, the more necessary it is for us to use our imagination to God’s good, redemptive, restorative ends in this broken world.
But even more than that, this picture of my girls in the sandbox stopped me in my tracks. I cannot watch them create and think of God’s ongoing creative work in the world as dispassionate and sterile. I can see the Father’s hands scooping out rivers and piling rocks into mountains. I can hear the sheer delight in his voice when he speaks guidance or wisdom. I can smell the damp earthiness as he kneels in the muck I’ve made of my life. So, when your world is confusing and uncertain and you are tempted to incessant worry and anxiety, perhaps it would help to picture God in this way – God with you. Perhaps it would help to recall the words of Jesus: “Don’t be afraid, little flock. It delights your Father to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)