This morning I listened again to NASA’s recording of the wind blowing on Mars. I can’t get over the fact that I can hear it — that my eardrums are touched through this recording by the air of another planet.
But I have been coming back to earth lately. After photo after photo of the Martian empty landscape — rocks, dirt and the funny-colored sky — I look out my window and really notice life. On this planet life fills all the available space everywhere I look. It’s in tiny creatures in the air, in leaves, in birds, in microbes in the soil — everywhere. And I praise God in the words of Psalm 104.
25 O Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
The earth is full of so many creatures. On Mars there is the wind — breath of the spirit, ruach. Here there is wind breathed by teeming creatures in countless shapes and sizes, all in complex interdependence. The energy of God runs through all. Without it our hearts, our breath, would stop.
28 All of them look to you to give them their food in due season.
29 You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.
30 You hide your face, and they are terrified; you take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust.
God, Creative, Imaginative — Artist — Author of planets, galaxies, nebulae, black holes and life, quixotic and endless,
26 Yonder is the great and wide sea with its living things too many to number, creatures both small and great.
27 There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it.
There is so much to love on this planet. Leviathans, earthworms, gentle-eyed deer, geese with their fuzzy babies, owls, pelicans, squirrels — each is a being, a “Thou” as Martin Buber would say. And God, as Artist, loves when we fall in love with one. God loves relationships as much as God loves breath. God loves the weave of life that we make more complex every time our hearts get tangled up in caring. We are meant to wonder at and to enjoy our companions in this world.
It is so important that we take time to gaze at and to be in relationship with other created beings. Each of us is awesome, each is an icon, a window pointing to God. If we do nothing else but breathe in interrelated connection with other living things, appreciating their individual existence, we will have done enough. For out of that sort of love springs all good works in the service of God.
34 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being.
35 May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the Lord.
37 Bless the Lord, O my soul. Hallelujah!