All Creatures Praise the Lord

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Psalm 148

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! (v. 9)

This psalm of praise is all-inclusive. Nothing is left out. All creatures praise the Lord. Angels in heaven. Sun and moon and stars. Sea monsters and creatures of the ocean deep. Fire and hail and snow and frost. Mountains and hills. Animals wild and domestic. Lowly snails and high-flying falcons. Kings and queens. The poor and the homeless. Humans male and female. All people, young and old.

And wedged in the middle of this doxology are trees. “Fruit trees and all cedars” to be specific. That brief list includes lots of trees. Almond, apple, carob, date palm, fig, mulberry, olive, pomegranate, sycomore (not to be confused with sycamore), and terebinth—to name just the fruit trees native to the Middle East. And there are many species of cedar around the world, the most famous being the cedar of Lebanon—a symbol of strength, splendor, and glory.

What does it mean for trees to praise God? Is this just a case of personification, attributing human qualities to nonhuman creatures? Or can we imagine nonhuman creatures praising God, each in their own creature-specific way? New scientific evidence says there is much more to trees than meets the eye. For example, trees communicate with other trees and they nurse sick neighbors. Perhaps if we had the eyes to see and ears to hear, we could acknowledge that trees praise God in their own tree-like ways. If so, then we could tune in to the symphony of creation. —Steven Bouma-Prediger

Prayer: Loving Lord, may all we do give praise to you.