A Bible Reading: Psalm 148. 1, 7 - 12
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above… Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.
We have had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand twice. On both occasions, we were enthralled by the sound of the native birdsong and made various trips to make the acquaintance of native species and their particular calls.
Since coming to live in a small rural village like Walgrave, I have begun to appreciate far more the beautiful bird song we have here in Britain too. We frequently retire to bed accompanied by the deep and slightly eerie sound of an owl, calling from one of the trees opposite. Although we are only just a few days into February, the birds in the Rectory garden are already in full voice trying, mainly bluetits and blackbirds, but also the occasional thrush and wren.
However, I will never forget one particular evening Bible Study at our vicarage back in Yorkshire. We were having a time of prayer at the end of an evening gathering, when prayers fell silent and we all began to listen intently. We were treated to the glorious song of a solitary blackbird, perched on a branch just outside the lounge window. This particular bird seemed to be singing his heart out, giving his all, in the most beautiful and intricate melody, which went on uninterrupted for well over ten minutes. It seemed as if this small bird was bringing to God his own unique song of praise. I’m sure it must have delighted God’s heart just as it delighted ours.
Psalm 148 tells us that creation gives praise to God just like us. Indeed, it is not just a statement, it’s a command, an imperative, something we have been designed to do. Over the past two years, thanks to Covid and the lockdowns, we have all become much more aware of the natural world around us. Can I encourage you to take this awareness a step further?
As you spend time out of doors, keep your eyes and ears open. Use all your senses. Allow yourself to be caught up in a natural world which brings praise to God by its majesty, by its intricacy, by its changing colour and mood. Then listen more carefully to the sounds of the animal kingdom around you, and inspire you to lift your own heart and voice in thanksgiving and praise.
Creator God, we thank you for the beauty of the world around us, the sights and sounds which delight the senses. May we join with all creation in bringing you praise.
Listen here to tune in to the songs of the blackbird: