A friend in the Netherlands asked me for a suitable version fo Psalm 104 to acknowledge and celebrate Creation . I sent links for various existing versions, but also this paraphrase.
A paraphrase – and there are several well-known Bible versions which fall into this category – is a Bible Reading, with preaching built in.
Loud I shout out; it’s what defines me:
for all I am speaks highly
of my Leader: God and Guide.
Nobility, integrity-arrayed, as sky-light clothes you,
Immense the skies’ pavilion, taut you pitched
as rafters of your dwelling span the seas,
you drive the rain-clouds
gliding high on wings of wind
that in their turn bear urgent news
as do your servants, fire and flame.
The Earth, you have enthroned robustly;
Robed in deepest blue, which in its turn
Stands proud aside at your rebuke
And when you make the point with thunder
waters shall retreat.
Indeed, the waters, should they rise again,
to threatening levels, over land
will do so not as you require,
who set them in their place, providing space
for life to thrive.
And in the meantime water gushes
bringing life between the hills,
hydrating wildlife so that even
wild asses quench their thirst.
And habitats diverse with birds
the choirs of branches green and growing.
We visualise you: garden-tender of the mountains:
fruitful work that causes Earth to smile.
Grass, growing, ‘cos of you feeds all the cattle;
whilst rooted plants in partnership
enable Earth to nourish us
and gladden human hears with wine
as faces shine with plant-oil,
bread is broken, giving life.
God’s watering of trees is generous
In Lebanon the cedars which God planted;
trees where small birds build their nests
-the stork’s at home in fir trees.
and habitat for wild goats, up mountain-high
shared : safe-house for the hyrax.
The moon, you made, defines the seasons;
Your sun’s aware of time for setting,
relinquishing the light to your hands:
night is summoned, filled, as humans sleep
exploding life nocturnal in the forest:
when roading lions young
shall look to God for prey,
though in their turn, at daybreak take their rest
and lie down in their dens;
the morning shift of people then set out to work
a full-day’s labour, till the work is done.
My God, diversity, abundant, wonder, beauty
all your wisdom’s offspring,
creatures, such as us, and others,
fill the whole wide earth:
Yes: over there the great wide sea
which may be measured, never grasped;
more life than we can comprehend;
our ships may come and go,
no more than touch the surface
of Leviathan’s playground
law unto themself, for your joy, not our profit.
All this life that looks to you for food
within due time and season.
When they harvest what you offer,
from your hand; with good things they are filled
When you hide your face, distress ensues;
You take away their breath: it’s death
for us and all that’s living;
dust to dust, and so life’s circles turn.
You breathe again, and life, and flesh reborn
adorn the face of Earth made new.
May the wondrous shining love of God endure forever!
God, rejoice in all that’s made!
God, nonetheless, who makes Earth tremor
God: volcanoes smoke your power!
As for me: here’s what defines me:
singing lifelong, mind and body
gratitude in work and worship:
aiming high for justice in my
thoughts and deeds and prayers.
And, all that said, acknowledge:
unjust choices, God-entrusted:
our extinction is an option if we choose
But may this define me:
all I am speaks highly
of my Leader: God and Guide.