All Creation Praises the Lord!
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Pastor Brian Rajcok
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
April 2, 2020
This psalm speaks to the glory of God’s good creation. In it we hear joyous praise from the whole created order: sun and moon and stars. Snow and frost and wind. Mountains and hills, fruit trees and cedars. Sea creatures and creeping things and flying birds. And all people—kings and rulers, men and women, old and young together: Let them praise the name of the LORD!
Reading this psalm gets you excited about going outside—maybe you wanna run around barefoot and hug a tree! I think it’s especially appropriate to read this now when spring is blooming and nature is eagerly awakening from wintertime. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the weather’s getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. It’s a beautiful time of year that reminds us of the joy that it is to be alive.
I’ve always loved looking at the clouds pass through the sky and gazing at the stars at night. Looking at nature has a way of inspiring the awe of creation. Oftentimes though we’re too distracted to pay attention to the beauty of creation. We’re too busy to go outside. We’re too busy running around to school or work or bringing kids to sports, clubs, or activities. But even when we’re running around like crazy, sometimes a beautiful sunset or a breathtaking landscape has a way of stopping us in our tracks—drawing us into the awe of creation.
This spring especially, when pretty much all activities are canceled due to the need for social distancing, we have a special opportunity to pay more attention to the beauty of creation and to be mindful of God’s presence in the natural world. Maybe you’re still feeling distracted by many tasks, but let this psalm invite you into quiet contemplation of the magnificence of God’s creation. When you go outside, look around. Be mindful of your surroundings. Look up at the sky. Feel the sun on your skin. Smell the scents of flowers. Listen to the birds sing. Gaze at the tree branches swaying in the wind. It’s such a beautiful world. When we quiet our minds and just simply exist and observe the natural world, we’re drawn more deeply into the mystery of life. We are more grounded and connected and feel the Spirit of Life flowing in us and through all things.
In addition to inviting us to be more mindful of creation’s beauty, I think this time of social distancing also has a way of reminding us of how we are one global community. The coronavirus crisis is making us realize like never before that we are one global family, that we’re all in this together. Like all creation joining in harmony to sing and praise God in Psalm 148, so can all of us come together to love our neighbors and care for the Earth. Seeking to protect all human and non-human life on the planet. We’re coming to appreciate the things that matter most and learning better ways about how we can help one another. And one of the most curious things is that this time of quarantine is having an incredible impact on the environment, reducing our carbon footprint considerably. I’m hopeful that when all this over humanity will learn and grow from this experience. That is, if we pay attention.
So I encourage you to appreciate the beauty around you, and be mindful of the opportunity you have to become more spiritually attuned during this time. Bask in the joy of life. Celebrate with those who celebrate and mourn with those who mourn. Be open and trust whatever life brings. And through it all trust that the God who created this beautiful universe loves you and guides you through life. Christ is present in all creation, calling all things to participate in the divine dance.
So let us join all creation in shouting our praises. Praise God sun and moon! Praise God all you shining stars! Praise God sea monsters and all deeps. Mountains, hills, tress, all creatures and all peoples—join together in expressing the glory of God! Thanks be to God for this wonderful beautiful world, and thanks be to God for guiding us through dark times and filling us with joy and peace and being present with us through it all. Amen.
I want to close with a prayer that I really like. I think fits well with our creation theme. It’s a paraphrased version of the Lord’s Prayer called the New Zealand Lord’s Prayer. Let us pray…
Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, Source of all that is and that shall be, Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in whom is heaven: The hallowing of your name echo through the universe! The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world! Your heavenly will be done by all created beings! Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth. With the bread we need for today, feed us. In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us. From trials too great to endure, spare us. From the grip of all that is evil, free us. For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen.
Thank you all for joining me this evening. God bless you all this week.
God be with you.