Reflections On Songs of Praise

Listening to the Song of Creation


The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. {2} Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. {3} There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; {4} yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalms 19:1-4 RSV)

For years I wondered what this psalm was trying to say. And, after having mulled it over and having prayed it for 30+ years, I think I’m beginning to understand.

Praise is a part of the life of any who truly believe in God. When I say, “praise,” I mean offering our praise to God for all of the startling and awesome beauty of God’s creation.

The other day, I was speaking with someone who is planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. I have never been there. In fact, I have never been west of Iowa (on the ground). The eroding waters of the Colorado River have dug out the canyon. According to Encarta Standard 2002, the software encyclopedia, “The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and more than 5000 feet deep. The entire canyon is extremely beautiful.” Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

I have seen photographs of the canyon, with its varying hues of color, as the different layers of the canyon were exposed by the waters, which carried away the soil and stone. I’ve heard that at daybreak, when the sun is first creeping into the sky, the canyon looks breath taking, and the different colors exposed to the first dawn’s light, softly imprint themselves on the mind of any who happen to be blessed enough to see them at dawn’s light.

Now, it’s true, in Northeastern Indiana, we don’t have such a canyon. But, we do have beautiful land, and rivers, and parks. Traveling to Monroeville along the Monroeville Road the other day, I was absolutely stricken by the beauty of the farmland, and the stands of trees and the sky, which reached down to the tops of the trees. I’ve seen Redwing Blackbirds flying along fence-lines, which is always a sure sign of spring, with their splotch of red and yellow on their ink-black wings. And though, as of this writing, I haven’t heard the “drone” of locusts, even their noisy “song” gives praise to the Creator of this world and the universe.

It’s hard to remain “blue” or depressed in such a beautiful setting. I find that when I am feeling low, to walk in this beautiful “garden” that God has given us, does a lot for my soul.

When the psalmist wrote, “There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; {4} yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”

(Psalms 19:3-4a RSV) he was aware that the “song of creation” is often a “silent” one. We, as men and women who are so hurried, “miss” the song. It’s as if it is truly “silent,” because we aren’t listening for it. And until we learn to listen to this silent song of creation, we will not perceive not only the glory of creation, but also most of all the glory of the One who made the universe and called it “good.”

So, dear readers, I would invite you to slow down this spring and summer, and listen to the silent song of praise and glory, which all of creation sings to its Creator. And when you perceive it, offer a song of your own. It will make your heart merry and bring gladness to your days.

So, to quote a great saint of the Church, Francis of Assisi who wrote of “brother sun and sister moon,” who praise our great God:

“All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam! O praise him, O praise him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

The Waynedale News Staff

Reverend Chris B. Madison

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