Genesis 1:31 and Job 12:7-9
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast;
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small:
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
In this poem, the mariner has gone from taking the creatures of the sea and air for granted, even despising them as odd, but through the course of the voyage, because of his experiences and the reactions of the other sailors on his ill-fated journey, he comes to discover the beauty and value of all the creatures. All of his mates are dead, and he alone has made it back to his country, but he is a changed man. He has a new appreciation for all that exists. Part of his penance for his initial cavalier treatment of the natural world is that he has to roam from place to place telling his story. He cannot rest until he tells it everywhere.
The lesson he has learned is also the lesson of Genesis 1:31 “God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.” Everything… plants, animals, birds, fish, insects, and more. All of it is good.
But even more to Coleridge’s point is Job 12:7-9.
But ask Behemoth, and he will teach you,
the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or talk to earth, and it will teach you;
the fish of the sea will recount it for you.
Among all these, who hasn’t known
that the Lord’s hand did this?
God made it all and you as well. All of it is good. As I drove north up the I-15 freeway yesterday through the north county and beyond and saw the green of the hillsides, the California poppies beginning to pop out in thick patches, with snow on the far hills and the blue of the sky and the sparkle of the sunshine, it was impossible not to notice the beauty. As I sat at my conference and looked around at the amazing diversity of God’s people, even in the little sample of our group of 75. What an amazing creation God has wrought. Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God.
blessings to you,
Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible