The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours forth speck, and night to night declares knowledge; there is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned; in keep them there is great reward. But who can discern his errors? Clear Thou me from hidden faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19
Sometimes even one verse of Scripture is packed with power. Such is the case with Psalm 19:1: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.” Each season of the year aids in this declaration. Spring is a season of new life, yet for most of us, we’ve spent the spring inside, wondering about the fragility of life. In Florida where I serve, we are not yet having the blistering heat of summer. Mornings and evenings are still cool, and gentle breezes blow. In other parts of the country, nature has awakened from the grip of winter as flowers bloom and grass grows after months of dormancy. I remember when I lived in New England the joy of seeing the daffodils push through the ground. And when I lived in the mountains of western North Carolina the brilliant gold of the forsythia bush. This cycle of life repeats itself year after year. These amazing cycles of nature continually remind us of the handiwork of God. They aren’t complex science projects engineered by us, but rather the work of our Creator.
In this time of quarantine, it’s important to remember to get out of the house, even if it is to sit in the yard, to feel the grass on your feet or the warmth of the sun. The walls of our homes and the endless news cycle do not declare the glory of God. People do that, nature does that. Our homes are the handiwork of skilled laborers. The sky, the clouds, the wind, the rain, the flowers, the grass, these are the handiwork of God.
In Psalm 19:2, we read “Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” It is amazing that God speaks to us without words. For those who wonder “why do we never hear God?” the answer is that He speaks to us in the sun, in the wind, in the rain, in beauty, and in other people as well.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” (19:7) This is because the law of the Lord is love, and love revives the soul. Someone in the liquor business told me that their business is up 2000%–TWO THOUSAND PERCENT. Drinking ourselves stupid is not how we revive our souls—it’s how we mask pain. Same thing with drugs, pornography, or even excessive TV watching. The soul is revived through love. If your soul is down, call someone, write a letter to someone, express love and appreciation for someone. If you are feeling great, do the same, call someone, write a letter to someone, express love and appreciation to others in your life, because everyone needs love to revive their souls and we can’t ever receive too much love from others. Not only are we to express love for others, but we are supposed to express our love to God—this can be expressed in prayer, and also in enjoyment of His creation. It’s like when you buy a gift for someone and you see them using it, even if they don’t express their thanks verbally, by seeing them use the gift, you know they are grateful for it. Use and enjoy God’s creation. That is a great way to express our thanks to Him.
Finally, verse 14 reads: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” This reminds us that as God speaks to us through the heavens and through His handiwork, we also “speak” a response to Him. When we litter the environment, either with pollution, bad language, bad feelings or poor treatment of others, we express ingratitude rather than thanksgiving for the glory of God and the beauty of His handiwork—His creation, and the human beings He created in His image and likeness. Let us treat all of His creation with joy and gratitude. If the heavens are telling of His glory, then we human beings must tell of it as well, through our words and actions. If the firmament declares His handiwork, then we should declare it as well.
Prayer of Protection from the Coronavirus
(Prayer by Grace Bishop Alexis (Trader) of Bethesda)
O God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, and of all creation visible and invisible, in Your ineffable goodness, look down upon Your people gathered in Your name. Be our helper and defender in this day of affliction. You know our weakness. You hear our cry in repentance and contrition of heart. O Lord who loves mankind deliver us from the impending threat of the corona virus. Send Your Angel to watch over us and protect us. Grant health and recovery to those suffering from this virus. Guide the hands of physicians, and preserve those who are healthy that we may continue to serve You in peace and glorify Your most honorable and majestic Name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Appreciate the glory of God and His handiwork outside in some way today!
The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! There you may find a database for past prayer team messages as well as books by Fr. Stavros and other information about his work and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
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