Glencairn Methodist Church
"The Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof"
This is the opening of Psalm 24, which is often read at Harvest time. The Jews of old would have sung this psalm as they they made their way in procession up to Mount Zion to celebrate the autumn grape harvest. What does it say to us today?
First of all we are asserting that the EARTH is the Lord's. Everything - worship and work, God and nature, heaven and the soil - belong together. There is a unity in God. Streets, fields, markets, schools, parliaments, workshops, sea and distant stars are all God's, made, upheld and controlled by Him. When we give thanks to God at harvest time for the fruits of the earth, we are in fact giving thanks for EVERYTHING.
Then we are asserting that the Earth is THE LORD'S. It is not ours to rule, remake, share out or defile as we wish. Man is not the Lord of all he surveys, he does not have unlimited power to do as he wishes, he is not the proud being that he thinks he is. We often assume that the earth is Man's, and that might is right. We forget that the earth is the Lord's and that right is might.
We are asserting that the WHOLE Earth is the Lord's, not just Sundays and churches. The earth is not shared out between God and the Devil. Yes, there are places and times when this seems to be the case; it is up to us to reclaim the whole earth for the Lord.
Later in the Psalm, we have these words:
"Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?"
The response is:
"He who has clean hands and a pure heart."
This reminds us that if we wish to worship God we can only truly do so when we return from the market, the workshop or the fields with "clean hands" - that is hands unsullied by any dishonest deal, and with "pure hearts" - that is hearts uncorrupted by any deceitful love of gain.
Men and women who love the Lord and live their lives with clean hands and a pure heart "will receive blessing form the Lord and vindication from the God of their salvation", a salvation bought for us by Jesus Christ.
Go and read this Psalm and ponder upon it!
Ken (18 October 2006)