In worship yesterday, we reflected on the creation account in Psalm 104. Too often we read creation accounts in the Bible as information about how God created the world. However, these texts have been passed down and treasured, not because they answer how creation happened. They help answer the pressing question we all have: what’s my place in all of this?
Interestingly, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition this Psalm is viewed as the song of Adam. He is reciting it as he stands on the edge of the Garden of Eden, having just been banished from paradise. Adam is on the brink of entering the real world, with all its struggles and challenges, and before moving into it, he recounts creation, contemplating his place in all.
Today, I encourage you to read Psalm 104:1-24, and then read Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese,” which is found below. For me, her poem captures the spirit and soul of the Psalm as we seek to find our place in this world.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.