Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all of the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Over the past twelve days, we have been celebrating how Yahweh manifested himself through Jesus’the Protagonist. As we bring this particular season of celebration to a close, we remember that the coming of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah is not just good news for all people, it is good news for all creation. God has a plan for creation. He created all things out of a deep reservoir of love, and everything he created he declared as “good.” God does not waste anything. He makes it perfectly clear in the Scriptures that his intention is the full restoration of the cosmos. There will be purification and renewal, but those are not the same as destruction.
We can sometimes become hyper-focused on God’s intention to save individual souls and forget that his plan is comprehensive; it includes us as individuals, but it’s not about us as individuals. It’s about the piecing back together of the whole picture, of which we are a part. For this reason, Psalm 96 depicts all of creation rejoicing at the coming of the Lord. As the connector of heaven and earth, Jesus is the one that even the trees long to see, and at the sight of him, they cannot hide their relief. In his birth and life, Jesus set into motion the mending of all things. In his imminent return, he will set the seal on all that the prophets have spoken. God will send his Chosen One to heal all that ails us. He will do so when he chooses, yet it is not for us to stand by passively. By living a holy life, we can hasten the fulfillment of Psalm 96. We undermine the nature of things through wastefulness and self-indulgence. Holiness implies simplicity, and simplicity is medicine for all that lives.
Close the gap between heaven and earth. Forgive us for any role that we have played in producing and maintaining the schism that currently exists. With Jesus as our impulse, reconnect us with the land, and reconnect us with our neighbors.
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH, AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
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