From Ryan Ruffing
In Psalm 65 God is praised as the great creator, and sustainer of all things. He has made everything by his strength, and like a patient farmer he brings forth the abundant potential within creation. He makes the land produce bounty and abundance to feed humankind. To the psalmist, this is a beautiful reality, fit for awe-filled praise – indeed, the creation itself lifts a voice of joyful song.
As city dwellers we are often totally encased in a man-made environment. Manicured trees and patches of grass dot our urban landscape, but there is a sore lack of anything wild in our regular experience. We are cut off from the natural reality on which we depend – our plentiful nourishment comes from the supermarket and not from God’s good earth.
Is it any wonder that we have difficulty grasping the generosity of God in modern America when we have paved over, and built atop his majestic handiwork? Is it any surprise that we credit ourselves for our overflowing bounty, when we have so thoroughly separated God’s good gifts from their dependence on His creative and generous heart?
It is precisely this reality – that God is the source of all good things – that Paul points to in encouraging the generosity of the Corinthian church. “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Cor 9:10). As they give generously, Paul reassures the Corinthians that God will sustain them, and in their hearts produce an abundance of “thanksgiving to God” (vs. 11). Like the creation in Psalm 65, the Corinthians will also revel in God’s abundance and sing joyful songs.
There are few expressions of God’s beauty and generosity in creation that I love more than the poem Pied Beauty by the 19th century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins – so, I leave you with that:
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: