How Dragons (and the Weather) Praise God

"When you look at all these things [clouds, winds, storms, rain, lightning, thunder, hail, snow] in our lower world you are struck by how changeable they are, how turbulent and terrifying and prone to decay.  Yet they too have their place, for they keep their appointed order and contribute in their own way to the beauty of the whole, and therefore they praise the Lord.  This is why the psalmist, turning to them and addressing his invitation to these lowly things too, began by saying, Praise the Lord from the earth, you dragons and all the depths [Psalm 148:7].  He wanted us to praise the Lord through our study of them, for, when they move us to praise God, they themselves are praising him.

"Now dragons favor watery habitats.  They emerge from caves and take to the air.  They create major atmospheric disturbance, for dragons are very large creatures, the largest of all on earth.  This is probably why the psalm began its consideration of earthly creatures with them.  There are caves in which hidden waters rise, and from them spring the fountains that issue in rivers.  Some of these flow above ground, but others make their way below the surface, hidden from our gaze.  All of them, together with the entire watery world, the sea, and our damp atmosphere here below, are called the depths in our psalm, they and the great deeps in which dragons live and praise God.  What?  Are we to imagine dragons forming a choir to praise God?  Of course not [Aw!], but when you think about dragons you are reminded of the dragons' designer, the dragons' creator [Well, that's okay, then].  When they fill you with amazement you reflect, 'How great must be the God who made them!'  In this way dragons praise God through your voices, and so the psalm invites them, Praise the Lord, you dragons and all the depths."

--Augustine of Hippo (d. 430), Expositions of the Psalms 121-150, Exposition of Psalm 148, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2004), pp. 483-84.

And you thought dragons were just kids' stuff, didn't you? Just imagine: a choir of Smaugs!


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