Today’s Advent Devotional: Psalms 98

Let Heaven and Nature Sing

For the last few years, I have participated in writing something for the Advent Devotional, a booklet created by Calvary. Mine was featured today.

Today’s Advent Devotional: Psalms 98

Psalm 98
A psalm.

1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.

Lately I have been attracted to various expressions of love and joy for God as found in religious traditions unfamiliar to me. Like Turkish whirling dervishes with their billowing white skirts and ears turned towards God. Or the Jewish tradition of gathering to gaze up to the stars beneath the branches of the sukkah each fall.

In the third stanza of Psalm 98, a psalm of joy, we find the mighty ocean clapping and expressing her love for God, as well. Perhaps this is the oldest and most constant expression of adoration we can find. The waves of water have thunderously applauded all of God’s glory from the very beginning of time. Day in and day out, the waves move back and forth creating a soothing rocking motion, certainly caressing the earth with her love. Despite the woes and heartbreak she has witnessed and enveloped, the joyous clapping never ceases.

And any of us can stand facing her with toe grasping the shifting sand below to witness the only point of view that remains unchanged throughout the test of time. And with toes grasped, we too, find that the joyous mantra melts the burdens we needlessly bear, if only for a moment.

I loved the idea of nature praising God. The imagery of the sea reminded me of an exhibit of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Seascapes that I saw a few years ago at the Hirshhorn. As I worked on Brink of Wholeness for Sallie, I thought about the words of Joy to the World. “Let heaven and nature sing.”

Let Heaven and Nature Sing
Ultimately, this year’s passage inspired my art work for this Sunday.

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  1. kim

    That is so beautiful! I love it. Just caught up on your blog. The macy’s post makes me miss dc. So sorry abt the tomatoes! Did they not test her for those?

  2. Caroline (Author)

    Thank you, Kim!

    The Macy’s window is a bright spot in the cold, cold city.

    They only tested her for items I suspected. They do not do a broad range because it may show up that she is allergic to something in the test but not affect her. Then we would edit more out of her diet. ??? I need to email her allergist again.

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