January 15, 2021
For the Beauty of the Earth

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it. You provide the people with grain and crown the year with bounty.”
from Psalm 65:9-11
Nothing inspires me more than nature. I suspect that you, too, have a love and an appreciation of the outdoors. Whether stands of trees, wildlife, fields and pastures, streams and valleys, flowers and mountaintops, berries, or beaches, there is so much diversity of life and landscape to enjoy. I was fishing once on a lake with the father of the bride the day after her outdoor, state park wedding. It was nice to have a Sunday off! As we sat in the stillness of the early morning sun, the mist starting to burn off from the top of the still water and the birds singing he said, “pastor, this is my sanctuary.” I answered, “I like your taste.”

The 65th psalm like so many others declares that creation itself joins in witness to God’s creative powers. The Lord didn’t just make life… but continues to actively sustain life and provide for the needs of all creatures. God sends the rains and brings forth harvest. God blesses the earth with growth — things don’t remain stagnant. The Psalm is playful and imaginative in saying “hills are joyful, meadows clothe themselves with flocks and valleys adorn themselves with grain.” Not only does nature look amazing and good…but it sings out in praise as the hills, valleys, and meadows “shout and sing together for joy.”

Can you hear the song of the apple tree, the harmony of wheat and clover, or the shout of the hillside? It’s wonderful imagery that puts lightness in our hearts and a smile on our faces. It reminds me just a little of the Pharisees telling Jesus to quiet the jubilant crowds as his Palm Sunday parade entered Jerusalem. He responded, “if these people don’t’ praise me, the rocks themselves will sing out.”

Consider the natural world praising God constantly in all the ways it does. And then, as often as you can, join in. The meadows are already praising God…so why not join them? One thing I know that works for tired, parched, and burdened souls… get outside. Spend time looking to the stars, noting the colors of the sunset, identifying the birds, or watering your garden. Walk, hike, ski, swim, cycle or just sit as the showers soften the earth, enriching it and our spirits as well.
Creator God, you have made this world and declared it good.
Thank you for the gift of life on this miraculous and colorful earth. Keep me alert to every sign of your love, presence, and blessing.
Thank you for your love for “all the world.” Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com