In a few days, another Earth Day will be here. Originally planned as a day of teach-ins and protest about environmental concerns in the U.S., the first Earth Day of 1970 ignited a movement that spawned legislation and a change in attitudes that has led to cleaner air, purer water, and many other positive changes in the way we treat this planet that is our home.

Since the beginning of Earth Day, there has been suspicion or uneasiness on the part of many Christians toward Earth Day in particular and toward a concern for the environment in general. There are many signs, though, that this is changing.

Many Christians now see that loving the Earth is part of loving the Creator who made this intricate world. They read the words of Genesis 1 and realize that when God said it was "very good," God was talking about the whole of creation, not the creation of humans in isolation.

The song, Declaring Glory, featuring Jon Guerra and Audrey Assad, presupposes that all of creation—humans, non-humans, earth, sky, sea—have the ability to praise God. Bible passages such as the following speak of this ability:

Psalm 148:7-14

Praise him, mountains and all hills,
   fruit trees and all cedar trees.
Praise him, you wild animals and all cattle,
   small crawling animals and birds.
Praise him, you kings of the earth and all nations,
   princes and all rulers of the earth.
Praise him, you young men and women,
   old people and children.

Psalm 19: 1-4

The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
   night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
   no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
   their words to the ends of the world.

The song, which is from The Porter's Gate album, Climate Vigil Songs, (which I wrote about in an earlier column just before it was released), imaginatively puts into words the praise of God from the perspective of the Earth. The lyrics present a larger view of history and praise than we are personally capable of seeing, given our short life spans and limited views.

As we approach Earth Day, 2024, perhaps this song can help us honor and love the Earth with new words and a new perspective and listen for the praise of God of the non-human voices that, according to the Bible, are all around us.

Declaring Glory (Earth Sings its Refrain)

by Paul Zach, Kate Bluett, Jon Guerra, Nick Chambers, and Molly Parden

When I was young
You woke me with the sound of song
The wind and rhythm drew me along
I echoed in the hymn of the dawn
I turned, and turned
This dance that all the planets learned
In circles, 'round the stars as they burned
I praise You as I orbit and turn

Declaring glory, glory
Declaring glory, glory

The mountains rise
The forests grow before my eyes
The moments and the seasons in mind
Then turn again, embracing the tide
The waters fall
And carve their way across my soil
Their canyons cutting deep in my soul
I praise You while the rivers still roar

Declaring glory, glory
Declaring glory, glory

New life begins
Your creatures dance across my skin
Like me, they have Your Spirit within
But soon they fade away as I spin
They fall to dust
And dress me in decay and rust
Their secrets buried deep in my crust
I praise You in the layers of dust

Declaring glory, glory
Declaring glory, glory

All the rocks wear down
Beneath passing of the crowds
The rivers run until they run out
I praise You till my fire's run out
I praise You till my fire's run out
I praise You till my fire's run out

I'll praise my Maker in every age
I'll praise my Maker in every age
I'll praise my Maker in every age (glory, glory)
I'll praise my Maker in every age (glory, glory)

Glory (ooh, oh)
Glory (mm)

Reflection Questions: Have you found ways to listen and recognize the praises being voiced by other non-human part of creation? How does seeing yourself as a member of the wider creation give you a more complete view of yourself and the world?

If you would like to find a worship guide for the album, you can find it here.

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