UCC Daily Devotional: Earth’s Joy
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness… Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving. - Psalm 100:1-2, 4 (NRSV) I was tired before the pandemic overtook our days, our news, our livelihoods. Far from dancing my way into God’s presence, I was crawling to the gates with my body tired and my tongue dry. Maybe you were too. Maybe you are now. Thank goodness – thank God – that all the earth is still making its own joyful noise, chirping and thrumming and blooming and waving without minding our weariness. Across the street from my home, the neighbor’s yard is resplendent with the gladness of dandelions – perhaps the most stubborn flower I know in its determination to be friendly. On a now-quiet Chicago beach, a pair of endangered piping plovers are blissfully building their nest, dancing their courtship, and dining on God’s banquet of insects and crustaceans. Through the streets of Samsun, Turkey, a large flock of sheep recently wandered and grazed, not minding the rightness or wrongness of their path, only noisily joyful for bites of grass along the way. Across national parks and nature reserves, bears and boars and cranes and turtles are expanding their territories and visibility, no longer constrained by tourists and traffic. In the relative quiet of quarantine, scientists report that the earth’s natural noise is remarkably quieter – and more measurable. The crust quakes less, the ocean’s waves resonate further, the volcanoes’ rumbles are more evident. While humanity observes a season of silence – whether from virus or fatigue, with grief or frustration – all the earth continues to sing God’s praise. Prayer Teach my heart to retune its song to joy, O Creator. And when my song is quiet and my tongue is heavy, tune my heart to hear your praise sung by all the earth.
About the Author Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and Denial Is My Spiritual Practice, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.