Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For the Beauty of the Earth

Earth Day 2009

Today's Word:
Acts 5:17-26 (The Apostles are jailed, but an angel is sent from God to free them)
Psalm 34:2-9 (The Lord hears the cry of the poor)
John 3:16-21 (The Numbers of Hope)

For a reflection on today's Gospel passage, please look for the March 22 post, "Mass Marketing,", by clicking in the archives.

It's the 39th annual Earth Day.
I think the voices of history speak the proper sentiment better than I.

   O my soul, bless God! God, my God, how great you are!
      beautifully, gloriously robed,
   Dressed up in sunshine,
      and all heaven stretched out for your tent.
   You built your palace on the ocean deeps,
      made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.
   You commandeered winds as messengers,
      appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.
   You set earth on a firm foundation
      so that nothing can shake it, ever.
   You blanketed earth with ocean,
      covered the mountains with deep waters;
   Then you roared and the water ran away—
      your thunder crash put it to flight.
   Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out
      in the places you assigned them.
   You set boundaries between earth and sea;
      never again will earth be flooded.
   You started the springs and rivers,
      sent them flowing among the hills.
   All the wild animals now drink their fill,
      wild donkeys quench their thirst.
   Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,
      ravens make their voices heard.
   You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns;
      earth is supplied with plenty of water.
   You make grass grow for the livestock,
      hay for the animals that plow the ground.

   Oh yes, God brings grain from the land,
      wine to make people happy,
   Their faces glowing with health,
      a people well-fed and hearty.
   God's trees are well-watered—
      the Lebanon cedars he planted.
   Birds build their nests in those trees;
      look—the stork at home in the treetop.
   Mountain goats climb about the cliffs;
      badgers burrow among the rocks.
   The moon keeps track of the seasons,
      the sun is in charge of each day.
   When it's dark and night takes over,
      all the forest creatures come out.
   The young lions roar for their prey,
      clamoring to God for their supper.
   When the sun comes up, they vanish,
      lazily stretched out in their dens.
   Meanwhile, men and women go out to work,
      busy at their jobs until evening.

   What a wildly wonderful world, God!
      You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
      made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
   Oh, look—the deep, wide sea,
      brimming with fish past counting,
      sardines and sharks and salmon.
   Ships plow those waters,
      and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them.
   All the creatures look expectantly to you
      to give them their meals on time.
   You come, and they gather around;
      you open your hand and they eat from it.
   If you turned your back,
      they'd die in a minute—
   Take back your Spirit and they die,
      revert to original mud;
   Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—
      the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

   The glory of God—let it last forever!
      Let God enjoy his creation!
   He takes one look at earth and triggers an earthquake,
      points a finger at the mountains, and volcanoes erupt.

   Oh, let me sing to God all my life long,
      sing hymns to my God as long as I live!
   Oh, let my song please him;
      I'm so pleased to be singing to God.
   O my soul, bless God!

(Psalm 104, "The Message" by Eugene H. Peterson)

With this kind of enthusiasm, may we be mindful that man's 'dominion' over Planet Mother Earth should be looked as that of a caretaker. May we be judicious in our future use of this planet's resources, as an investment for the generations to come.

Consider that none of us have ever seen...

A bison throw a cigarette butt out a car window

A flock of geese rip the top off a mountain

A seal cause an oil spill

A hippo drive a Hummer off a dealer's lot

A lemur leave the faucet dripping

A raccoon go out for the evening and leave all the lights in the house on

A bobcat fight legislation to lower smokestack emissions

A songbird sing "Drill Baby, Drill"

A panda dump raw sewage into a river

A pride of lions so dependent on oil that they're willing to wage war over it

A slug (the real kind) claim that our biggest worry is global cooling

A gorilla fail to keep its tires properly inflated

A salmon pollute a stream with mercury

An elephant claim that his God says it's okay to pillage the world's natural resources willy-nilly because pachyderms are the "chosen ones"

A lizard mock public transportation

A penguin claim that the melting polar ice caps are no big deal

A crocodile think up new ways to go overboard on plastic packaging for portable electronics

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light. (Refrain)

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight. (Refrain)

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild. (Refrain)

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love. (Refrain)

For the martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors’ might,
For the lips of infancy. (Refrain)

For Thy virgins’ robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesus, Victim undefiled. (Refrain)

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven. (Refrain)

--For The Beauty Of The Earth (1864)
Folliot S. Pierpoint

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