1.14.2009

The foundations cannot be shaken

Listening to Psalm 104 on Pray-as-you-go this morning, I was struck by how far we have moved from a sense of awe in creation, respect for its limits, and the fact that it is all a gift of God — not just the sun and the rain and the plants we see but the way all of it, from the cosmos to the inner workings of cells, are knit together interdependently to form an environment that allows and sustains life.
It is wonderful to listen to the promise of God’s provision. Yet there’s some dissonance, too.
You set the earth on its foundations,
   so that it shall never be shaken.
How do you hear this in light of our abuse of the earth that does threaten its very foundations?
You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
   they flow between the hills,
Since we dig ourselves into valleys every once in a while, this is a wonderful promise, that even where it seems we can’t dig any deeper God can still bring forth streams.
These all look to you
   to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
   when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
In the industrialized western world we have certainly lost this one-to-one connection between trust and daily bread. We build complex (and vulnerable) structures for security. Some can live a life on a few days labor or inherited wealth, while others toil every day and starve. Thousands die of lack of food and/or clean water every day.

How do we read texts like this in the midst of uncertain times? How do we maintain a healthy balance between the promise and the call to action?

(One of my contributions to the Kairos : Christians at Large online discussion)

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