Proper 19 Year B

by the Rev Dcn Helen B. Hanten

This psalm which begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God….” reminds us of one way that God’s handiwork in the creation is seen in regular and glorious patterns. As the sun rises and traverses its path through the sky and sets again, “one day tells its tale to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another.” Despite all the uncertainties and sometimes enexpected tragedies of daily living, the rising and setting of the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars are part of the rhythm of the cosmic order that we can rely on, and by those rhythms the earth, “this fragile earth, our island home” is blessed. The psalm writer even has the sun itself rejoicing!

by Jill Peterman

There is something eternal in the night sky. The ancient past and the present moment come together in a stunning starry array. Light from stars light-years away originated millions of years ago. Aurora lights dance in earths magnetic field produced by solar storms from our own sun days ago. It is a dark cold clear night and I am outside, present to this glory.

But how do I see, or interpret this? What knowledge or sense or spirit informs me when I look at the stars? It may be totally different for you. Patterns in the night sky are recognizable by some but not others. Yet, we all look up. Even bright city lights cannot dim the brightest stars. The person there has to look harder, or perhaps leave more to memory.

Seeing is part of what we take in with our senses. It can influence us to look farther, or to shut our eyes. Will the sun come up tomorrow? We certainly hope for and expect this, as “one day tells its tale to another, one night imparts its knowledge to another.” (Psalm 19) We live in hope of this gift.

As a child I always looked to the stars and imagined or hoped others were looking too. I even hoped my teenage music idols were looking up too. What did other kids in Australia see? I certainly did not know. Yet I felt a link to others by this looking up. As I stand under the clear, bright moon with brilliant stars and crunchy snow under my feet, I hope I will always be able to see.

by the Rev Tom Harries

The opening of the Psalm is one of the most beautiful creation texts. The heavens declare the glory of God. In our Eucharistic prayer a we say of God’s relation to humanity “you made us for yourself.” We are made for God and one of our important roles is as witnesses to give glory for all that God has done. In this passage from Psalm 19 that idea is extended it’s not just humans but the heavens, the firmament, and all of creation are created by God and joining giving glory to God.

Reflection on Psalm 116, by the Rev Sally Maxwell

This psalm of thanksgiving does not include as much nature imagery as many do, yet two lines stand out:
Verse 7: “the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” and
Verse 9: “I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
This grateful psalmist praises God for life, bounty and abundance, reminding that these blessings are indeed from the Creator. And the psalmist reminds of another promise and blessing: the land!

Resisting global climate change: ‘This is what love looks like!” by Tom Mundahl

Excerpt: In his thoughtful commentary on Second Isaiah, Paul Hanson asks: “How can one reach a people seemingly hell-bent on their own destruction?” (Paul Hanson, Isaiah 40-66—Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1995, p. 138).As relevant as this question must have been for the exiled community in Babylon, how much more crucial it is for us as we face the “exile” of global ecological disaster. As we finish two weeks of major party political conventions where silence regarding threats to creation has been deafening, Isaiah’s suggestion that we set our “faces like flint” (Isaiah 50: 7) to continue our vocation to care for creation could not be more timely.

This sense of call is at the center of our First Reading drawn from the Third Servant Song. Because the exiles have a difficult time admitting their responsibility for their plight, no longer do we hear of promises of “streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35: 6). Now the LORD God, who with full-blown courtroom imagery is trying the people for their sins, reminds them that “I make the rivers a desert and the fish stink for lack  of water” (Isaiah 50: 2b). This threat is all in the service of making the people “face the facts.” They have forged their own chains of exile.

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