There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city;* it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
– Psalm 46:4-5
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
– “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes
Two poems written centuries apart are both inspired by a river. The Old Testament poet sees hope in the presence of a river in a city under siege.
Langston Hughes in one of his earliest poems taps into our universal spiritual connection with creation. In his biography he shares that he was riding on a train and crossing the Mississippi river that gave the inspiration to this poem and voice to a troubled soul.
Our joining in a Season of Creation is an acknowledgement of the spiritual depth of this connection between Creator and creation. It is a precious gift that we cannot take for granted. A river of trash and the stench of toxic waste might inspire, but the connection to creation and God’s handiwork would probably be missed. When we take care of creation we are maintaining a point of transcendence that can speak to our souls even as it spoke to two poets centuries apart.
To join in a Season of Creation is to be accountable to the voices of those yet to be born. Those who have yet to gaze on sunsets dancing over shimmering waters that transcend the cacophony of human madness to the loving presence of a living God.
Rev. Dr. Earl Trent, Senior Pastor of the Florida Street Baptist Church, is the chair of the CWS Board of Directors.