Monday, July 30, 2018

Babbling Brook

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
Psalm 65:9-13

This is one of the most beautiful passages in the entire psalter. It is a psalm of thanksgiving, a song of praise for God's providence. Verse 9 sets the tone in two parallel sections:
  1. Generally, the earth benefits from the visitation of God with water.
  2. Specifically, the people of earth benefit from the river of God.
And this is what draws my attention this morning. The "river of God" mentioned in verse 9 is barely a river at all, but is in Hebrew פֶּלֶג אֱלֹהִים—more like "the rivulet of God" or God's brook. In this part of the country, we might be tempted to think of the mighty Tennessee River as the river of God, based on nothing more than its size. In my hometown in Kentucky, of course, the mighty river is the Ohio. But apparently God needs nothing so grand to bless the earth. A stream will do, merrily making its way through a land that was once parched, but is now filled with wildflowers and crops, where animals graze happily, and where humans can find pleasure—all because God has come in something small and cheerful. So what better than a babbling brook to remind me that when God was incarnate on earth, the divine Presence arrived as a tiny Baby, born in a stable, and placed in a manger to sleep.

May my reading of this passage today help me to look for God in the small things, confident that a little of what God blesses us with will go a long way.

Let me praise you for the phenomenal signs of your presence this day, O God. But let me not neglect to look for you in the little things. Help me therein to trace your mercy, your grace, and your providence from the minutest detail, to that which gives my life true meaning. And in my gratitude for what you have done and what you are doing, help me to share your blessings with others. Amen.