This past week, I shared in Mt. Horeb’s video daily devotion a reflection on Psalm 65, which is also a part of this Sunday’s readings. As it focused on God’s mighty power and the gift of Creation, it led me to ponder beautiful landscapes I’ve seen: the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, the Blueridge Mountains, the SC coast, our own Lake Murray, the Palmetto Trail and the Appalachian Trail, the Smokey Mountains, the Florida Keys, Yellowstone National Park, and more.
I also considered how we overuse and even exploit these gifts of nature to meet the needs and wishes of our lifestyle. We are not the best of stewards. And so, verse 3 of Psalm 65 stood out: “When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions.” God’s forgiveness, then, leads us to recognize the ill-effects of our actions and abuse. We pray for wisdom and seek to celebrate the creation all around us – to see God’s creation as a gift to the world.
We teach this to our children – when you do something wrong to another, face them, say your sorry, make-up, and then go play. Enjoy and nurture the gift of relationship, rather than let the ill-effects of harsh words or actions tarnish it. Grow. Be grateful for relationships.
Psalm 65 is a thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth, and the relationship we have with it. It’s a song that praises God for giving us everything we need for life. The psalmist says to God, “You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.” (v. 9).
From start to finish, Psalm 65 is filled with the vocabulary of abundance. It inspires me to want to kayak on Lake Murray or drive to the Isle of Palms or to the Blueridge Parkway and just sit in a chair; or, even walk barefoot in the grass! We live in God’s abundance!
This devotion led me to search through our ELW hymnal, where I found #678 and these words: “God, whose giving knows no ending, from Your rich and endless store: Nature’s wonder, Jesus’ wisdom, Costly cross, grave’s shattered door. Gifted by You, we turn to You, off’ring up ourselves in praise: Thankful song shall rise forever, Gracious donor of our days.”
As we go through these different and difficult times, may you continue to stay Spiritually connected to a God who speaks to us in Word, in song, in relationships, in loving service, and in creation.
The Peace of Christ be with you!