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Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
    creeping things innumerable are there,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you
    to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit,[a] they are created;
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord! – Psalm 104:24-35

In our reading for today, the psalmist reflects on the glory of God as it is displayed in nature and the great diversity of creatures that inhabit it. My own personal favorite “creature” is my little dog Bear. About 3 and a half years ago, Taylor decided she REALLY wanted a dog and started aggressively lobbying me to get one. I had the normal objections one might have: “it will tear up our apartment, it will shed everywhere, it will be hard to find someone to care for it while we’re out of town,” etc. Despite my misgivings, I finally gave in, and we adopted a 6-week-old beagle-mix puppy whose mother had been rescued just before giving birth to his litter. In time, all my worries turned out to be pretty accurate, but regardless of that, Bear has become a beloved part of our family that we can hardly imagine life without.

Just the other day, when Bear came and cuddled up next to me on the couch and I gave him the required scratches and rubs, I started to reflect on life from his perspective. Just as the psalmist describes the complete reliance of animals on God, Bear looks to Taylor and I to channel God’s sustenance to him and in return he provides his unwavering love, affection, and loyalty. I also thought about the brevity of a dog’s life compared to a human’s and was grateful for a moment to truly appreciate all that Bear means to me. In that moment, I considered my own mortality as well, and my prayer came out something like where the psalmist lands: “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” May all of God’s creatures remind us today of our deep need for God and our calling to glorify His name in the time given to us!