Singing for Joy

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Psalm 96

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (v. 12)

The tall eastern white pine, a favorite home for bald eagles, whistles its familiar tune when the west wind blows through its bundles of long needles, singing praise to the God who made it. The smooth-barked American beech, whose nuts are sought after by grouse, raccoons, and bear, slowly bends in the breeze, bowing in reverence to the God who tends it.

The broad-crowned white oak, whose acorns are nourishment for famished turkeys, squirrels, and deer, turns red-brown each autumn as the days grow shorter, saying thank you to the God who nourishes it. The crooked crab apple, its white-pink flowers exploding with color each spring, hunkers down close to the ground, glorifying the God who rejuvenates it.

The giant sequoia, by volume the world’s largest living tree, whose bark is 20 inches thick, whose crown is more than 300 feet above the ground, who was an adult long before Jesus was born, in whose presence one can only gaze slack-jawed and stone silent—this Tree of trees sings for joy to God, the Maker and Sustainer and Redeemer of all.

All the trees of the forest shall sing for joy. In this hymn of praise to our Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, all creatures—human and nonhuman—worship God. So be it. Amen! —Steven Bouma-Prediger

Prayer: O Lord, help us, your human earthkeepers, to live in such a way that all the trees of the forest shall sing to you for joy.