Earth Day is an interesting holiday, because instead of inviting us to celebrate by eating lots of food and candy, buying lots of stuff for each other, and lounging around the house, it challenges us to celebrate by getting up and doing something good.
Former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the first Earth Day, which was celebrate on April 22, 1970, as a day to call and act for the healthy and sustained thriving of creation. Today people join with their churches and communities to beautify their local landscapes through planting, clean-ups, and conservation measures. Others acknowledge it through protests, letter-writing campaigns on issues of environmental concern, and other political action. Some make a special point of reducing their energy use, and of just enjoying time outdoors.
Today is a busy workday for me, and there are few mid-week opportunities in my community for doing something to observe Earth Day on a large scale. But, as God would have it, my morning’s devotion time placed me at Psalm 19, a classic Psalm of praise and thanksgiving that uses God’s grandeur in creation as a lens through which to see his greatness.
Here is the psalm in full. If you’re stuck indoors today, let this be a window to a few minutes of contemplating God’s goodness and reveling in the good gift of his creation.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworth,
making wise the simple
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.