Like many truly inspired pieces of music, Rhythm of the Earth by Sarah Class is at once poignant, sublime, mesmeric. It breathes in and out like the great organic being that we call Planet Earth, unfurling our inner sanctum that cringes against the destructive forces assaulting its existence. Yet still amidst the greed and grime of heavy industry, the whir of technology and the bitter brutality of futile, insufferable wars, the poet within each of us longs to describe the wild beauty of our islands, to walk barefoot on sun-blessed beaches and to harmonize with majestic whales rising from ocean depths. The once wistful, even whimsical desire for restoration has become a surge of craving, no longer creeping in our dreams, but plunging daily into our ordinary lives. We still leave Eden behind. Back through the ages, the prophets of God urged the stewards of earth’s treasures to seek the wisdom of the One who made the stars to shine, who appointed times and seasons, and caused the sun to give light and warmth for sustaining life.
Imagine the privilege experienced by the space travellers as they viewed the exquisite sapphire Blue Planet set shimmering amidst the depths of outer space, yet not floating aimlessly, but secure in a mighty force that decreed its pathway. Gene Cernan, the commander of the last Apollo mission recorded his response to what he saw. “The Earth, dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt it was just too beautiful to happen by accident, there has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me.”
It is a reminder that the comforting rhythm and regenerating power of nature is to be celebrated with thanksgiving. As we watch the moon sailing serenely behind rain clouds, see waterfalls tumbling from rocky heights, gaze at the lark ascending and listen to the long sweet notes of the nightingale, we let loose a captive praise that the soul cannot hold back.
In a recent rediscovery of stored literature, there emerged a tribute to the late Nell H, Alexander (1915-1986). She was a member of Zion Baptist Church and elected to many high offices including first lady president of the Baptist Union of G.B and N. Ireland (1978). Nell was gifted with many talents and much appreciated for her expansive ministry and leadership skills. It seems to be an appropriate time to quote some words from her own poem, In Memoriam.
“Born on the wind, flashing exultant wings
Herald again the returning, certain Spring.
Across the pools of reddening elms
The pewter-silvered river hides from sight
The waking darting life beneath –
And beside a bush of gold, the almond –
Black wrought iron against the sky
Raises its pink tipped fingers,
And sun-laced trees shake spangling catkins
In tumultuous joy.
Just such a Spirit quickened us
To serve our God ‘so great’
Not only with our lips, but with our lives
Nell’s poem continues with praise and worship to the God of all comfort, inspiration and regeneration around, but also within each soul responding in faith to his call to lay down the burden of regrets and failings and to find cleansing, forgiveness and a renewed spirit through Christ as Redeemer and Restorer. “The earth is the Lord’s and all fullness thereof (Psalm 24v1,2) and that includes us. Furthermore, we look to a time still to come, of Divine restoration, peace and hope.
‘ Nearer and nearer draws the time
The time that shall surely be
When the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.’