Recharge is a Bible study just for you, to nurture your own relationship with God. So, before you even look at the rest of the magazine, take some time out to focus on him. Grab a coffee, sit, breathe and read.
GRANDE LATTE – Psalm 104
FLAT WHITE – Psalm 104:19-24
ESPRESSO – Psalm 104:24
“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
BABYCHINO - (an all-new, family activity to reflect on God’s word together)
Why not read the creation story from your favourite children’s Bible at bedtime?
To reflect, go for a walk and look for something of every colour of the rainbow. You could collect them or just spot them and draw them later.
With older kids, you could take some disposable cameras on a walk with you and see what cool shots they can get of their surroundings.
Last month we took ourselves back to school – but with faith – looking at the building blocks of our faith, beginning with the Trinity. This month, we’re considering creation. Belief in a creator is what sets apart people of faith from those who don’t believe in God.
To say not what but whose is the Earth is a uniquely religious question that we will be reflecting on this month. I’ve chosen to ground our reflections on the creator God in the Psalms, because I want this to come from a place of worship and wonder.
For we know a God who poured out all of the known and not-yet-known world and poured forth into the world as the living word. Understanding creation is a route into knowing the creator and worshipping the one who created all.
Joy and power
This is why I’ve chosen Psalm 104. Psalm 104 is one of my favourites, mainly because of the imagery of God that the psalmist chooses. Reading it feels like so much fun! God is great and powerful, sure, and we’ll talk about that in a bit.
But there’s also a joyful vitality to the psalm, as God revels in and rejoices over (verse 31) God’s works. When God wraps Godself in light (verse 2), I picture a big swooshy cloak to swirl around in.
When God stretches out the heavens (verse 3) or springs forth water (verse 10) there’s a frolicking joy to the language. Like an artist having fun with their materials, using skilled hands and building excitement in the potential finished piece. God is constantly moving and working and enjoying Godself. This is the image I hold to when I consider our creator God.
After reflecting last month on the Trinity, this psalm reminds me once more that God doesn’t need to create out of loneliness, God chooses to create out of overflowing love.
This imagery doesn’t make God any less. God is not cute and cuddly, just as creation isn’t. In the summer holidays I went camping in the Lake District. We have a little inflatable kayak, and we took it out on Wastwater, the deepest lake in England.
As we paddled along, the scree face rose up on one side of us some 2,000 feet, and the water – freezing even in August – sank some 260 feet below us. I felt very small. Knowing that God created that mountainside and carved the depths of that lake filled me with fresh awe.
There’s a strength to God’s work. After all the parts that God is having such fun with are the vast oceans, clouds that can pour forth storms and hurricanes, and even the lakes I can only paddle across. I am reminded how little I am by comparison, but also how loved. Like CS Lewis describes Aslan – God is not safe, but he is good. This is the God we worship.
“Understanding creation is a route into knowing the creator and worshipping the one who created all”
Joy and noise
And this is a worship that we are joining in with. When we skip back a few psalms, mountains sing and rivers clap (Psalm 98:8). All creation is enlivened by this godly joy. It overflows from God and creation – itself an outpouring of love – reciprocates in worship.
When Jesus walked into Jerusalem on a donkey and was told by the religious leaders to quieten down his disciples, he replied that even the stones would cry out if they were silenced (Luke 19:40).
This unstoppable, noisy commotion of worship that takes over creation breaks through the cracks of sin and pain like a dandelion through concrete. It might look fragile but there’s something resilient about it here.
Joy and love
For the past two years I have had the joy of training as a priest in an Anglican church sitting between three council estates in north London. I have fallen in love with this parish for many reasons. Since lockdown eased in 2020, we have opened our doors each week day to welcome in those who wander in. One of the heartbreaking joys of this ministry is never knowing who the Spirit will blow through your door.
Just this week there has been a Ukrainian family collecting furniture for a flat they’re moving into, a women’s refuge resident seeking friendship (and half the biscuit tin), church members cooking curry from surplus veg deliveries and a volunteer who lives in the single homeless project next door pushing in our e-bike laden with bread left over from the local bakery.
Each one of them is the story of the broken reality of our fallen world and the unexpected joyful rivers of the love that flow only from the Spirit of God.
I am reminded as I read this psalm that God is joyful and attractive and resilient, and worship is countercultural and unexpected and fun! May this be the worship we know, and the worship we model to our families, friends, churches.
Creation is a beautiful overflow of the love of God. Worship is joining in the song of all creation as it returns that love to the creator.
Thank you Lord for the beauty of your creation. May I see it in all you show me today. May I join in with the worship creation offers to you. Amen.