By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

There are a number of psalms that imagine all the earth praising the Lord for example Psalm 148. Mountains, rivers, forests, sun, moon, and stars all praise the Lord. I love Ernesto Cardenal’s prayer below that takes on this psalm-like quality, imagining with specificity all that might too, praise the Lord. If you were to write a prayer like this with such meticulous detail, what would you include?

Let us pray:

Praise the Lord in your infinite variety all creatures,
Minute and enormous in your verity
Whose particular and unique features
Are the context of his glory and his fecundity

Praise the Lord nebulae like grains of dust
Silhouetted and fixed on photographic plates
Sirius, that dog star and his confederates
Arcturus, Antares, Aldebaran, the red bull
God’s cup brimming over and ever full

Praise the Lord you his meteorites and comets
In your elliptical orbits and made planets

Praise the Lord atoms and molecules
Protons and electrons and all the stars
The minute protozoa, in their liquid, the radiolaria

Praise the Lord cetaceans and atomic submarines
For you are of God’s mind in your particulars
Birds, the eagle and wren, the aeroplanes
And prisms in emerald copper sulphate
In the electronic microscope infinite
Coloured flowers blooming at the bottom of the sea,
Diatoms and the diadems of the Antilles
Like a rose of diamonds, let all these
And the unended maritime fauna

Praise the Lord, and the Tropic of Cancer
Storms of the North Atlantic and the Humboldt current,
The dark, sweating forests of the Amazon
The shining island jewels of the South Ocean
Volcanoes and lagoons and the Caribbean
Behind the silhouettes of the infinite palm
Democratic republics, the United Nations

Praise the Lord as even for police is appropriate
The students, the young, the beautiful,
His glory surpasses the heavens, it is bountiful
Telescope and microscope seeing near and far
It is he who has made the people plentiful
Who would not yield to the Lord the word hosanna?
—Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan Liberation Theologian 1925–2020

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