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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, July 4, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 65:1–13

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)

I have always enjoyed spending time outside, enjoying the beauty of nature that God has blessed us all with. Back when I lived in Columbia, Missouri, I spent hours and hours on the Katy Trail, a large rail-to-trail development that stretches across almost the entire state of Missouri. Stepping onto that trail was like entering another world, full of marshes, beautiful trees and flowers, and plenty of wildlife. Many summer days I would hop on my bike and ride for hours and hours, always making a stop at what locals called “The Big Tree,” a 400-year-old burr oak tree out in the middle of nowhere. Every time I visited that tree, I was in complete awe. It has survived floods, lightning strikes, and some vandalism but still stands strong to this day.

During our time of quarantine, I’ve been trying to get out for a walk most days, but I seem to be completely focused on zig-zagging around and on whatever podcast I’m listening to in my ears. After reading this psalm, I made an effort to pay attention to the nature that is around me. All of a sudden I began to notice the gorgeous tulips along Michigan Avenue and the beautiful trees covered in new leaves and blossoms.

This psalm is a beautiful tribute to nature. Can you imagine the beauty that David witnessed as he tended his sheep? The lush green pastures, the hillsides, the clouds and rain, the mountains and valleys that he speaks of are all glorious gifts from God. As we go through our days, let us all take note of the beauty that surrounds us and praise God for providing us with those gifts.

Mighty God, I am in awe of the beauty that you have given us on this earth. Please remind me to be aware of it, to take care of it, and to rejoice in it. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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