The Squirrel and the World Leader

“Praise God . . . small animals and flying birds, rulers of the earth, leaders of all nations, all the judges in the world. . . ” (Ps. 148:10b-11).

Small animals next to great rulers . . . I like this image. I suppose it could evoke the picture of a king with his own private menagerie of animals . . . but I prefer to think of it as an image of chipmunks and squirrels and other lively rodents going about their business beneath our feet.

Stealing food from the Occupy Wall Street encampments . . . swinging around the trees outside of presidential palaces . . . and maybe outside your house too.

Praise God across the high and low of status in one creature’s eyes, or another’s.

That is my only thought just now on this psalm . . . the humor of our earnest lives, the squirrels’ and ours, lived out right next to one another, often obliviously. (Though a squirrel does stand on a branch over my head and chastise me loudly and long if I linger beside the poppies in May . . . I do not hear her praise of God just at that moment, only a charge that I’m on her particular turf of the Kindom . . . and eventually I might listen to her obediently and withdraw from the poppy patch.)

Psalm 148 loops us from the cosmos to the tiniest of creatures, weaving praise of God throughout. But the juxtaposition of the small animals and the great rulers seems humorously apt as a reminder of the creatureliness of us all.

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