Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.

1 Chronicles 16, 33

Dear congregation, dear friends!

A watchword that uses a strange but very beautiful image. Trees singing for joy before the LORD. In a time when trees, if they could, would probably be crying in horror and grief about the destruction of the environment, this word jolts me. We humans have brought the destruction of the environment upon the world through our greed and exploitation, our attitude of turning everything we see into profit without regard for the consequences. And we don’t only treat the environment like that, we even treat other humans as resources to be used and abused for our own ends.

So the watchword for August of this year is a stark reminder of the whole creation groaning and crying out in pain and frustration, grief and yearning for the salvation God has promised. And it announces that the LORD will come – the LORD will come to “judge the earth”. What does this mean? In the word used for “judge” the activity of putting something right is included. Judging is not only proclaiming that this or that party is guilty or at fault – that is just the start of the judging – what happens after that is that the things that have gone wrong, that have been done wrong, the damage that has be done is put right – and God uses humans to do this as well.

We are called to bring about an end to the destruction and exploitation that have gone rampant over this earth. We are invited to imagine actively a world in which the trees can indeed sing for joy, because life can recuperate, nature can begin to heal and humans can live as caring brothers and sisters together. Let’s hear the watchword as a clear call to us, as well as a promise to the world, that God is inviting us to participate in the putting right of all the various things that we have gotten wrong.

Greetings in Christ, Felix Meylahn