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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, June 3, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 104:24–34, 35b   

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
There 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.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

Reflection
Every summer, for the past many years, our family goes to the coast of Maine. One of the lovely things about the place we go is that there is a very wide coastal mud flat that is exposed when the tide goes out. The great pleasure of that expanse is walking out there with our grandchildren and discovering what has flourished when the sea water covers the cove and what is revealed when the waters recede. Snails slowly make their way across the moist sand leaving their snail trail; hermit crabs skuttle across the flat, and when our little grandson reaches for one the creature evaporates into its shell, not to be coaxed out. And there are the sand dollars, a rare treasure, and a multiplicity of shells—pink, white, gray, black, jagged, and smooth. There, we discover the innumerable creatures, both great and small. And there we find ourselves astonished by the snails, the clams, the crabs, and even baby lobsters that reside further out in the tidepool.

God’s creative genius shines forth in this little slice of heaven. The creatures draw their life from God’s hand. The sea’s unrelenting tides pour over the little creatures and recede in a pattern connected with the moon’s pull. And the uninterrupted pattern is a heartbeat of heaven.

The psalmist reminds us,

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, great and wide;
    creeping things innumerable are there,
    living things both small and great.

We find our way to those amazing beach afternoons, kicking our shoes off, making our way from cottage to flat. And in many ways, this is what life can be: stepping out, casting our gaze down to the gazillion specks of sand; looking up to the shower of stars and holding out our hands to receive the gifts of life from God’s unceasing bounty. Yes, it doesn’t get much better than this. Thank you, God.

Prayer
Today, good God, open our eyes to see the beauty of creation. Today, stop us even once that we would hear creation’s chatter. Today, find our very soul, alive with wonder, welcoming your surprises and your soft embrace. Through Christ. Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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