God Satisfies the Needs of Living Creature
Useful in conjunction with Revised Common Lectionary A-13
As usual I want to talk to you about the biblical and Christian nature wisdom tradition. The book of Psalms is classified as a book of wisdom literature and it contains much nature wisdom and many nature metaphors. Often we find the psalmist looking into the natural world to find inspiration in guidance on how to live a righteous life in the eyes of God.
One of the important things which we need to remember when reading the Psalms is that they were written in a land that was sparsely populated and we’re human activity had had much less effect on the natural world than in our times.
At my seminary we always began our grace with this antiphon taken from Psalm 145:16 & 17 :
The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
And you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand
And satisfy the needs of every living creature.
It is good to recall the words creator, creation, and creature. In English the words demonstrates the relationship between the creator, the creation and all the creatures that dwell on earth. The creator is in relationship with his creatures and therefore is concerned about them like any parent is concerned about their offspring and wants to provide for them.
As the creation of the planet earth preceded and evolved it did so in order to supply the needs of every living creature. Although it is possible to discover an animal that died naturally from starvation it is a very rare creatures from the tiniest microbes to the largest sea creatures that dies of starvation.
God gives them their food in due season even if they have to migrate hundreds of miles like the American Bison and Caribou or fly thousands of miles like many bird species. In the natural world there’s a balanced relationship between predator and prey. When food gets scarce some creatures hibernate or even go into a deep sleep in the heat of summer. Other creatures learn to eat a wide variety of food. Other creatures are fed on dead and decaying matter. All of this possible because chlorophyll convert the sun’s energy into biological useable engergy.
There are many ways that God opens his hands to satisfy the needs of every living creature. There is no holding back as later is demonstrated by the open nailed hands of Jesus on the cross.
While hiking north of the Arctic Circle in the Brooks Range, I was astounded to see how God cares for these creatures during the very long and cold winters. There are actually grazing lands on the leeward side of mountains that are basically snow free most of the winter and provide shelter and food.
Also hidden in the mountains are salt licks they provide the various minerals needed for life in a harsh climate.
God indeed is a faithful creator who is strongly bonded to creation and all creatures and cares for them.
Let us end in today’s meditation with a prayer reminding us of our Christian vocation to care for creation.
The merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: make us, we beseech you ever thankful for the loving providence; and grant we, remembering that we are care givers of creation, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God forever and ever. Amen
Reflections and Questions for Discussion
1. Recall a time and tell a little story how you have seen God satisfying the needs of some animal.
2. The psalmists found inspiration in the natural world. Share ways you have been inspired in nature.
3. What is one way that you can be a faithful steward?