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  • Marji Stevens

Clapping for God


While tending his father's flocks David devoted himself to two books of wisdom: the one written in nature, and the Scriptures. Each revealed the character of His God for He had written them both. Day after day, David witnessed the marvelous scenery surrounding him, and no doubt it became his contemplation and the inspiration for Psalm 19.

"The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1), and are declaring, "The firmament shows his handywork" or His hand work. "Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. there is no speech or language where their voice in not heart" (Psalm 19:1-4).

Some of the loftiest thoughts of God are written in nature. They preach and woo us to worship. They declare His beauty day and night without intermission. They preach in every language in every part of the world. They preach in every religion. They point us to the One who created it all.

Nature steadies us, helps us to find our plumb line again. When we stop to observe, to listen, when we slow our engines to find the quiet and watch the natural world around us, we find a kind of balance not found in buildings and malls and electronics.

I took a brief walk into the fields with my dog, Oden, and stopped at the sound of a chorus of pattering like gentle clapping. It was the leaves of a tree I think was poplar. The sound of the leaves fluttering in the wind reminded me of a walk Bill and I went on years ago up a steep trail that wound through a forest of Aspen trees in Colorado. I remember being moved almost to tears at the music of the leaves fluttering against an azure sky. "They're clapping for God," I said as Psalm 19 came across my mind.

"The whole earth worships you. They sing praise to you. They sing praise to your name."

"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, ore the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the se inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:7-10)

" . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away" (Psalm 148:6).

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" (Isaiah 55:12).


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