Psalm 104 is an excellent place to turn to celebrate the gifts of life.
Concerning the Earth, the psalmist makes reference to the time of creation as noted in the Book of Genesis and then proceeds to cover rapidly the evolution of our mountains, valleys, plains and deserts.
The way God allowed the water to recede and the dry land form relates to God’s promise never again to cover the earth with water. I am sure those people who suffered flood damage from too much rain in recent times began to wonder if God had reneged on his promise.
The psalmist progresses to indicate how God provided for all his creatures food to eat, water to drink and places to dwell to rear their offspring.
In God’s infinite wisdom, he created the solar system with times for night and day. We humans need the day to work (in the beginning to hunt and gather) and the night for rest, while many other creatures needed the darkness to hunt and the day to rest.
God has created a wonderful place for us to live out our days. As we are reminded by Smoky the Bear: Only we have it in our power to prevent forest fires, so we are reminded by Psalm 104 that only we humans, created in God’s image, have the wisdom and power to maintain God’s creation via good management principles of conservation and prevention.
God’s first mission command was not in Acts 1:8 but in Genesis 1:26-28, where God gives us humans the divine task of being good stewards of all creation. Therefore, environmental concerns are to be all believers’ concerns.
If the writer of Psalm 104 magically appeared today, the psalmist would be shocked to see our misuse and abuse of God’s creation via water, air and ground pollution, oil spills, trashing of public lands by tourists, elimination of forested lands and forest fires caused by humans.
We all need to reaffirm our role as God’s caretakers so that generations to come can celebrate the wonders of the created world we have been privileged to enjoy in our lifetime.
The Rev. Gene Norris is a Presbyterian pastor in Augusta.