A Reflection on the 17-Year Cicadas

Early in June This Lamp was still down, so I wrote this and sent it to a few friends via email. Now that the blog is back up, I’ll share it with all of you.

I walked out back to hear quite the cacophony of sounds as the 17-year cicadas sang their love songs. The trees were filled with the red-eyed bugs conversing and singing to one another. The trunks and ground beneath filled with discarded skins set aside like old changes of clothes.

As I took pictures, I was mesmerized by the beauty of these alien beings. So odd looking, and yet, God created even these--part of a cycle, part of a purpose. When I was a child, we always called cicadas "locusts." But they really aren't locusts. The biblical writers had nothing good to say about locusts because they always came as destroyers; but really, even locusts served God's purposes.

Whereas locusts were harmful, cicadas are the opposite. According to the Wikipedia, "Cicadas do not bite or sting, are benign to humans, and are not considered a pest." In the 4th century AD, the Christian preacher John Chrysostom compared the pleasure of reading the Old Testament prophets to the song of the cicadas.

I've always identified the sound of cicadas with summer. But I believe that looking into the dark red eyes of this 17-year variety, for the first time, I found a new summertime connection to the majesty and glory of God's creative power. I would imagine that in heaven, in addition to the trumpets of angels, cicadas must also sing their praises to God.

Psalm 145:10-11 states

“All your creatures praise you, Lord,
and your loyal servants bless you.
They talk of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your might,” (REB)

Surely, this includes even the cicadas.

Follow-up. After I sent the above out in an email to a selected few, I was sitting on my back patio a few days later. We are on the outermost edge of the Eastern time zone, and during the summer, we have sunlight well past 9PM. I enjoy sitting on my patio swing watching the skies as the gray bats indiginous to this part of Kentucky emerge from their secret sites of slumber for their nightly hunt. As the bats began their patrol, and the sound of the cicadas began to lessen for the evening, I thought to myself, “What a great summer to be a bat--a nice, fat, happy bat.”

See the
pictures I took of the cicadas (be sure to click on the thumbnail to see a larger view).

Also, if you’re interested in this particular varitey of cicada, check out the recent Courier Journal article, “
17-Year Cicadas Sounding Off in Kentucky.”

One More Thing: I believe this will be the last post with mismatched comments. If I’m correct, comments that were originally part of Theron’s review of the Orthodox Study Bible will be attached to this post. If you leave a new comment, it will be below them. One day I may try copying previous comments to the correct posts and deleting the misplaced comments. But as this will be tedious and time consuming, it won’t take place soon.