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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 104:24–35

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
   In wisdom you have made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
   creeping things innumerable are there,
   living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
   and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
   to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
   when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
   when you take away their breath, they die
   and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
   and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
   may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
   who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
   for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
   and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
   Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

This psalm sings praise directly to God. The psalmist notices, savors, and rejoices in the wonder of creation on the earth and in the great sea. He underscores how dependent all creatures are upon God for their breath, their food, and their very creation. God made all things in wisdom and renews the face of the ground.

A great place to marvel at the wonder and wisdom of creation is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. You can see a wide variety of cacti, in many shapes and sizes. What is fascinating are the cacti that grow in completely different parts of the world and do not share any common biological rootage, yet look and function quite similarly. The plants have adapted in similar ways to conserve water in extremely dry environments where the growing season is short and the dormancy period is long. Many of the succulents have spines that help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade. Their root systems are shallow so they can react quickly to any rainfall. A full grown saguaro can absorb as much as 200 gallons of water during one rainfall. The desert can blossom quickly in growing season with just a bit of rain.

Wondrous and manifold are God’s works of creation! The creative force of life bursts through in the most unlikely places. God renews life where we may have doubted anything could thrive. Take nothing for granted. Be moved to be in awe. Let you heart rejoice in God as long as you live, for life is indeed good and flourishes at God’s command.

“May your lively Spirit, God, blow throughout this ravished earth, giving cultures, creatures, plants, wholeness, stillness, growth and worth.” Amen.

(Prayer from the hymn “Sound a Mystic Bamboo Song” by Bill Wallace)

Reflection written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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