The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.

Psalm 24:1

Earth Day seems like the perfect time to share this poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins. I love that this poem celebrates Earth, charged as it is with the grandeur of God. But this poem also laments what we have done to Earth as we have trod, trod, and trod, and disconnected ourselves from its very soil. But what I love most about Hopkins’ poem, other than its simple artistic beauty, is that it concludes in such a hopeful way, with that wonderful image of the Holy Ghost over the bent Word. So, join me in this special devotion for Earth Day.

Devotional Poem: “God’s Grandeur” by Gerald Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Psalm: Psalm 24:1-24

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, 
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas, 
and established it on the rivers.

Scripture Readings:

Genesis 1:1-3 – In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Romans 8:22-23 – We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Closing Prayer

The earth is yours, O Lord, and all that is in it. And yet, for reasons known only to you, you have entrusted us with this beautiful creation. We celebrate the beauty of your creation today and give thanks to you for its gift. But we also acknowledge today how we have trod and trod upon your gift, seared and smeared it, and damaged it almost beyond repair. Forgive us, Lord, and help us to take better care of your creation, groaning as it is, and as it awaits with us your redemption. Continue to brood over the world, Holy Ghost, and over us, with warm breast and bright wings. Amen

3 thoughts on “God’s Grandeur by Gerald Manley Hopkins: A Devotion for Earth Day

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