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Thought for the Week – 16th May 2021

Nature, man and the Governor

On Sunday, we had a joyful Rogation Sunday service in church. Rogation Sunday is a time when we remember the fruitfulness of the earth and pray for the fertility of the land and animals. On Sunday we went outside the church to bless fields and farm, sheep (and Rosie the dog), wild flowers and trees as well as all those who care and tend animals and crops. And we sang a hymn! And today (Thursday), we were told that Billingsley has got the Eco-church bronze award. Eco-church is promoted by A Rocha UK, to encourage churches to remember the environment; what vicars call “creation” and most other people just call “nature”. The jargon does not really matter; take a look at A Rocha’s website ( ) if you want to know more or pop into the church to look at our new information panel on wildlife and the churchyard.

Rather appropriately, just after we got the news of our award, I said Evening Prayer and found it included Psalm 8. This sees the whole of the world/creation/nature reflecting God and it points to our special place in the world. The writer of the psalm talks of us having “dominion” over fish, birds and animals, which does indeed reflect our power over them. It is interesting what is not said in the psalm. The people of the Old Testament were very aware that they did not have dominion over many things in the natural world; the weather, earthquakes or indeed plagues of locusts. We can add to that Covid-19. The writer of Psalm 8 is very clear that God is the ultimate governor, not humanity. We can join with the author in rejoicing at the natural world, reflecting on our unique position but using that power to ensure that we conserve, not destroy and to show humility and wisdom when dealing with natural processes over which we have no dominion.

Psalm 8
O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!
Your majesty above the heavens is praised out of the mouths of babes at the breast.
You have founded a stronghold against your foes, that you might still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have ordained,
What is man, that you should be mindful of him; the son of man, that you should seek him out?
You have made him little lower than the angels and crown him with glory and honour.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands and put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.
O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!

Rev David Poyner