Genesis 48:8-22; Psalms 19, 46; Romans 8:11-25; John 6:27-40
“The heavens are telling the glory of God!” Psalm 19 begins as a hymn to God as creator of nature. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as many of you know. Even on a gloomy winter day, I marvel at God’s work. Walk in the woods, or gaze out the window. At first you might notice the mud. Everywhere you look you see brown: brown dead leaves, brown twigs and branches, and yes, brown mud. But look and listen a little more closely. Do you hear the leaves twitching on the forest floor? Look closer still, something is moving – a small bird (in the birding world commonly know as LBB, little brown bird), perfectly camouflaged, is finding food in those life-giving dead leaves. Now check out the branches and twigs. Try to focus on their tips. Do they look just slightly more swollen than they did a week ago? Life. Life from death. Promise. Promise of spring and flowers and things to come. Each of these readings has that same life, that same promise: God’s promise.
Sometimes we look past the things God created for us in our quest for more or bigger or better. How can we possibly make something that is better than God’s own creation? God has given us green plants, capable of changing sunlight into food. He has given us mountains, piedmont, coastal lands, rivers, oceans, clouds, and rain. God intertwined them into a mind-boggling web where each receives from and gives to that web, but the web is never diminished or depleted. We are part of that web, but at the same time outside of it. We have been given the gift of eternal life. We are asked to do more than just give and take here on earth. We are asked to care. We are asked to believe. Read through John 6:27-40. Are we focusing on the loaf of bread, or the bread of life?
I read through Psalm 19, lines 1-6, along with the Revised Standard Version footnotes, several times one evening as I prepared to write this. What beautiful imagery! The sun, rising each day, silently, yet its voice is heard and reaches all the earth. Rising from the end of the heavens, it makes its circuit to the end of them. Nothing is hid from its heat. God’s own creation, 93 million miles away, is powering life on our planet. The next morning we headed off early for our usual 8:00 a.m. Sunday service and turned onto Route 7, heading east. There was the sun, huge and glowing, having just risen above the ridge. I have seen this same sight many times in the past, but now I know I will not see it without hearing the words, “The heavens are telling the glory of God!”