Tag Archives: Earth Day

Reflections on Earth Day 2016

Rattlesnake Lake Reflection 4-19-16

Rattlesnake Lake Reflection 4-19-16

For the beauty of the earth,

For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies.

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise!

Today is Earth Day and while celebrated as a day to consider our stewardship of the earth and its resources, it is also a day for humans to pause and reflect. We reflect not only on the terrestrial beauty and resources our Creator has provided for us, but it also directs our attention celestially. Stewardship should involve worship. And worship should inspire stewardship.

Consider the experiences of the multi-talented poet, songwriter, artist, and psalmist David. Scripture paints a portrait of a man who was not just an artist, but also an athlete and an avid outdoorsman. Having spent more time camping in the wilderness than any of us, David was intimately acquainted with the seasons, the skies, the sand, the dust, the thunder, the rain, and even the hunger and thirst one feels more keenly when experiencing the earth up close and personal. Outside the realm of secured indoor places of convenience where most of us dwell, David experienced a lifetime of days and nights exposed to the raw elements of the earth. Enjoying such an intimate relationship with the earth and its Creator, he declared, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1 KJV).

David was not just an occupant of planet earth, he was a keen observer of nature and all of God’s creation. Those observations inspired him to proclaim: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1 ESV).

As David reflected upon the terrestrial glory of creation, his heart filled with wonder and gratefulness, and his eyes naturally moved upward, toward the horizon and beyond. His gazing outward and upward eventually led to looking inward. That is the beauty of times of reflection, of solitude and silence, while just observing the beauty of the earth and our natural surroundings—especially in parks, lakes, mountains, deserts, or streams that inspire us.

Overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, and looking above, David asked, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

Good question, Dave. It’s a question that has been posed for millennia. When we really look outward at creation, upward to the heavens, and inside of ourselves that’s what happens. Filled with wonder—both awe and questions.

In 1863, Folliott S. Pierpoint was wandering through the English countryside around the winding Avon River. As he looked on the peaceful beauty surrounding him, he felt inspired to reflect on God’s gifts to his people. Above all, Pierpoint thought of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave his life to redeem humanity. Jesus, the Son of David, answered David’s question. What is man, and why does God care about humankind? Because he loves us!

Pierpoint originally wrote the text of “For the Beauty of the Earth” as a hymn for the Eucharist or what many of us call communion or The Lord’s Supper. The original chorus read, “Christ, our God, to thee we raise this, our sacrifice of praise.” The hymn was meant not only as a song of thanksgiving, but as the only thing we could give Christ in return for his mercy and love: a hymn of praise laid upon the altar as a sacrifice.

We may never know why God loves us, but He does. And the beauty of the earth shows us that love every single day, making every day not only earth day, where gravity keeps our feet firmly planted on terra firma, but wonder-ful days as we gaze upward and then inward, pausing to reflect on the One who made all things, including us.

For the beauty of the earth,

For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies.

Christ, our Lord, to you we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise!

© 2016 Don Detrick