Original Research

The power of praise psalms to encourage awareness of ecological issues amongst worshippers

Barend J. de Klerk
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 48, No 2 | a1689 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v48i2.1689 | © 2014 Barend J. de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 2013 | Published: 12 February 2014

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Barend J. de Klerk, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

The liturgy ought to sensitise believers anew to glorifying God as the Creator and the Recreator of the universe. The Book of Psalms may be used to great effect to sharpen the ecological awareness of believers. The topic is investigated on the basis of three creation psalms, namely Psalm 19, 104 and 148. In particular, it asks how the praise of the so-called creation psalms serves to alert believers not only to conserve nature in their own context, but also, together with nature, to praise God in word and deed? The fact that the ecological crisis directly concerns our earth, air and water, that is, our basic sustenance ought to lead worshippers in the worship service to serious reflection. The destruction of ecological systems has a direct effect on every other problem faced by plant, human and animal. The focus of Psalm 19 on the heavens puts air pollution, global warming and damage to the ozone layer on the agenda of every worship-service participant. In the songs of praise in Psalm 104 and 148, humans are seen as part of the artistic creation web which ought to be conserved.

Die liturgie behoort opnuut ’n sensitiwiteit by gelowiges te skep om God as die Skepper én Herskepper van die heelal te verheerlik. Die psalms kan met groot vrug gebruik word om gelowiges se ekologiese bewussyn op te skerp. Die saak word aan die hand van drie skeppingspsalms ondersoek, naamlik Psalm 19, 104 en 148. Dit vra veral hoe die lof in hierdie sogenaamde skeppingspsalms daartoe bydra om gelowiges in hulle eie konteks op te skerp om nie net die natuur te bewaar nie, maar om deur die natuur God met woord en daad te verheerlik. Omdat die ekologiese krisis ons aarde, lug en water, met ander woorde ons basiese lewensmiddele regstreeks raak, behoort aanbidders in die erediens ernstig oor hulle betrokkenheid by die ekologie te laat besin. Die verwoesting van ekologiese sisteme het ‘n regstreekse uitwerking op alle ander probleme en nood wat deur plant, mens en dier ervaar word. Die klem van Psalm 19 op die hemelruim plaas lugbesoedeling, aardverwarming en die skade aan die osoonlaag op die agenda van elke deelnemer aan die erediens. In die lofliedere in Psalm 104 en 148 is die mens deel van die kunstige skeppingsweb wat bewaar behoort te word.


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