Non-Hoops March Madness

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea make a noise and all that is therein. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD. (Psalm 96:11-12, New Coverdale Version)

We are in the annual tug o’ war between Winter and Spring here. Downtown Sioux Falls’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade was colder than the pre-Christmas Parade of Lights.

So these Psalm verses that portray nature rejoicing have me hoping that the flora and fauna are March Madness cheerleaders for Team Spring, and that our weather bracket won’t keep getting busted.

Anglicanism is known for manmade, indoor aesthetics in terms of architecture, music, liturgy, vestments and coffee a bit better than other denominations’.

But there’s also a pastoral (as in outdoors in nature) sensibility echoing legends of Jesus strolling on England’s mountains green. The prolific hymn composer Ralph Vaughan Williams also wrote music celebrating the beauty and romance of nature, such as (if you have a couple of hours)…


[Note: In one of the worst trades EVER, in 1958 the Anglican Communion gave up Ralph Vaughan Williams to Death, receiving in exhange only yours truly.]

And while the creation can inspire or terrify us, moving us to praise or throw ourselves upon the mercies of the Creator, the Psalms do not put nature in a box separate from the salvation history of our fallen human race. The Psalm verses cited above are bracketed by

Tell it out among the nations, “The LORD is King; it is he who has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; he shall judge the peoples righteously” (v. 10)


For he comes, for he comes to judge the earth, and with righteousness to judge the world, and the peoples with his truth (v. 13).

We live in this tug o’ war between death-blighted flesh and blossoming new life in Christ. The Apostles saw the Gospel in nature without making the creation a vague, sentimental substitute for the Creator.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

We fill our March Madness brackets with all kinds of #1 seeds that routinely fall short. Politics is a big one these days, and plenty of other social and personal idols fill slots that belong to Jesus Christ.

But deep down the whole creation knows that the Savior will stand in the middle of the brackets – at the center of the cosmos made new – and rejoices in that hope.

2 responses to “Non-Hoops March Madness”

  1. It’s increasingly easy these days for people to worship false idols. Some, like me, get involved to some extent in local or national political efforts for causes which are important and determinative of our national character and independence. But these are only things that enable the expression and practice of our faith; they are not our faith by themselves. My local and state parties are beginning to host “prayer calls.” This concerns me. I pray for our country every time I worship, as Anglicans have always done in this country. The political party is not a church. We must remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. northernplainsanglican Avatar

      God has blessed you with awareness the will.protect your soul and be a light for others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: