When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
Previous Post: Psalm 104:16-22
Next: Psalm 104:29-35
“We have an eloquent testimony to the ultimate restoration of the world from the great Syrian poet-theologian St. Ephrem:
At our resurrection, both earth and heaven will God renew,
liberating all creatures, granting them paschal joy, along with us.
Upon our mother Earth, along with us, did he lay disgrace
when he placed on her, with the sinner, the curse;
so, together with the just, he will bless her too;
this nursing mother, along with her children, shall he who is Good renew. “
(from Elizabeth Theokritoff, Living in God’s Creation, p. 38)
Previous Post: Psalm 104:11-15
The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly,
Next: Psalm 104:23-28
Previous Post: Psalm 104:1-11
Next: Psalm 104:16-22
Bless the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
Next: Psalm 104:11-15
We have had a cold spring in our area. Winter has held on to the temperatures and brought us snow flurries, while the song birds are heralding spring in trees which are budding while flowers have appeared in fields and flower beds.
So when the day seemed even remotely springlike, I took my camera and walked the paths at Cox Arboretum. The weather may not be springing, but I tried to put a little spring in my walk.
I did see my first caterpillar, ant and (my favorite) bee of the season – welcome signs of spring.
In the Orthodox Church we frequently pray for “seasonable weather” which perhaps in our modern minds shaped by media weather reports translates into average or normal weather, though in our hearts we want it to be at least fair weather, preferable good or nice.
But there is an old Arab saying which has it that “All sun makes a desert.” We need the rain, clouds and cool weather to make our gardens grow.
“Unseasonably.” This to me is a strange word in the vocabulary of media meteorologists. In the middle of winter they might say on the coldest night of the year that it is “unseasonably cold.” They seem to mean it is below average in temperature, but in what other season except for winter would we have those bone chilling temperatures?
We seem to have had an unseasonably cold spring this year, though I don’t know if the weather data would affirm that or whether we have been well within what is normal for this time of the year.
A little ditty, I remember from my youth: “Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, it’s not a matter of weather or not. Whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.” Searching on the Internet, I see that limerick has many avatars, none of them exactly as I remember it.
You can find all of my photos from my walk at 2018-4-26 Cox Arboretum. Despite the weather, the birds keep singing every morning.
Come, let us greatly rejoice in the Lord; Let us shout aloud to God our savior; 2 Let us come before His face with thanksgiving, And let us shout aloud to Him with psalms. 3 For the Lord is a great God, A great King over all the gods;
4 For in His hand are the ends of the earth, And the heights of the mountains are His;
5 For the sea is His, and He made it, And His hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us worship and fall down before Him, And let us weep before the Lord who made us; 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice, 8 “Do not harden your hearts as in the Rebellion, During the day of testing in the desert, 9 Where your fathers tempted Me; They tested Me, and saw My works. 10 For forty years I was treated with contempt by that generation, And I said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they do not know My ways’; 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
The story of Noah taking the animals in the ark mentions at one point taking two of each kind of animal with him.
But the Noah narrative is actually made of two versions of the story woven together in one tapestry and makes no effort to harmonize the two versions. The other version mentions taking seven pairs of clean animals and birds.
When the animals follow Noah into the ark as if he is the chief shepherd to all animals, it is the first time in Scripture that the animals are said to follow the dominion of humans.
The story portrays humans and animals in a harmonious relationship with humans having proper dominion over the animals.
Inside the ark itself the story suggests another paradise with humans and animals living peaceably together, though outside the ark the raging waters will threaten death to all.
“And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive.
Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.” (Genesis 6:19-21)
The ark was to be a protective storehouse of plants and animals that God would keep safe from the chaotic torrential downpour that would inundate the world. As destructive as the deluge might be, God was preserving all the species on earth.
What a menagerie of animals was brought together – just like in Paradise.
“… they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth according to its kind,
and every bird according to its kind, every bird of every sort. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.
And they that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in. ” (Genesis 7:14-16)
In January, we bless water in the Church as part of our celebration of the Theophany of the Lord. All of creation was given to us by God to be a blessing for us. We acknowledge those blessings in the many & varied prayer services of the Church. St. John Chrysostom reminds us that the wind is also a blessing from God.
“Truly the winds are also for you–for we are going back again to the beginning of our discourse–to fan worn-out bodies, to purge away the defilement from mud and the heaviness caused by smoke and furnaces and other exhalations,
to attenuate the heat of the sun’s rays, to relieve the stifling heat, to make seeds grow, to strengthen plants, to travel together with you at sea and to be servants of agriculture for you on land–in the first place, conveying ships more swiftly than arrows and making the voyage easy and convenient,
and in the second place, clearing off the threshing floor with you, separating the chaff from the grain, and lightening the hardship of the work–to make the air light and gentle for you, to give you delight in different ways–first whistling pleasantly and gently, and then softly striking the plants and shaking the leaves of the trees–to make your sleep in spring and in summer more pleasant and more delightful than honey.
They also act on the surface of the sea and on the waters of the rivers, and lift up their surface in the same way as with the trees, thus providing you with a great deal of enjoyment from seeing it and, more importantly, also rendering you a great service.
And in fact, the winds are useful to waters in another way: not allowing them to stagnate and go bad, but rather, continually setting them in motion and stirring them up, rendering them fresh and at their best and more suitable as sustenance for creatures that swim in them.”
(On the Providence of God, pp. 65-66)