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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 65

Praise is due to you,
     O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
     O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
     you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
     to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
     your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
     O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
     and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
     you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
     the roaring of their waves,
     the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

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.

You water its furrows abundantly,
     settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
     and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
     your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
     the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
     the valleys deck themselves with grain,
     they shout and sing together for joy. (NRSV)

John Calvin, a particularly important ancestor to Presbyterians, declared in his writing that God is the “everlasting Governor and Preserver—not only in that he drives the celestial frame . . . but also in that he sustains, nourishes, and cares for everything he has made, even to the least sparrow.” Clearly the Israelite community that sang Psalm 65 in worship understood this truth long before Calvin began thinking about God’s relationship to creation. This hymn of praise gives us grand images of God’s founding of the world and also images of God’s continuing care for the earth and its inhabitants through the rains and waters that produce abundance.

Psalm 65 also provides us earthier and richer images for thinking about how God continually cares for us. Furthermore, where Calvin’s theological pronouncement makes God feel like a distant force, the psalm’s worldly framework makes it clear how present and close God is. The “everlasting Governor and Preserver” can be seen in the rains that fall, the waters that sit in the furrows of a field, and in the abundance that tumbles off a wagon into the tracks on the road. As we take in the beauty of blossoming spring and look ahead to the delights of golden summer days, are we able to see God in the things around us?

Loving God, you are in the rains and rivers, watering all creation and providing us with what we need to live. Help me to see you in the glory of creation. And let me, like the hills that gird themselves with joy and the valleys that deck themselves with grain, produce a plentiful harvest of praise for you. Amen.

Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism

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