Biblical Reference: Joel 2:21-23
Tune: Traditional American melody ("How Firm a Foundation") (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
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Hymn Note for "Don't Fear, You Good Earth"
"Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice,
for the LORD has done great things! ...
Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
the fig tree and vine give their full yield ..."
— Joel 2:21-23, Lectionary Reading for Thanksgiving 2018
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the goodness of what God has done and to remember our responsibility to care for God's gifts. As we have been blessed, so we are called to bless the earth and to care for it.
"'Do not fear' is the most common command in Scripture. Distinctive of Joel [Thanksgiving Day lectionary reading, Year C] is the divine address to soil (v. 21) and wild animals (v. 22; cf. 1:10). Not only are God's people restored (v. 23) but also nature's potency, indicated in the renewal of the land. Joel's prophetic message, one that conveys both judgment and restoration, bears a distinctly ecological thrust" (footnote on Joel 2:21-22, "The Book of Joel," by William P. Brown in the Discipleship Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version with Apocrypha, edited by Bruce C. Birch, Brian K. Blount, Thomas G. Long, Gail R. O'Day and W. Sibley Towner; Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, p. 1247).
This hymn gives thanks for God's care for creation (verses 1 - 3), acknowledges our sin that damages and destroys it, and is a prayer that we may be good stewards of what God has made.