Wednesday of Pentecost 18 – Psalm 104:27-35

27These all look to you,
    to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

My doctoral advisor is a wise woman. Our discussions often ranged freely in our years of study together. One day the conversation roamed into the realm of science and faith.  Karla attended the same church in which John Knox had preached in Scotland. She sang in the choir. She is a pious Christian. She observed that science is very good at describing things but not very good at explaining them. It could tell you how something happened, the processes by which something changed or grew, but science could not really explain why it happened.

The psalmist tells us that when God sends forth His Spirit living things are created and the very earth beneath our feet is renewed. If he withholds that same Spirit, everything withers and dies.

The sunflowers in my garden have come to the end of their season. It is time to pull them out and till the soil to prepare for next spring’s planting. For their season they grew, and every day they turned their faces to the sun, reflecting its yellow glory in their own yellow blossoms. We can understand how seeds germinate, plants grow, and even how they turn their faces to the sun. We can describe how the plant had matured and finally even how it prepared to survive the winter through its seeds. But the answer to “why are there sunflowers?” must be found in God. Why are there beautiful things or why does life itself exist? Surely the cold and cruel universe does not need life; yet, here we are.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; May the LORD rejoice in his works.

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