‘Creation is the forum through which humanity can find proportion and wonder
This is best articulated by Psalm 8, in which the author is overawed by the splendour of creation around him and is amazed that God should allow fallible humanity to have guardianship of the planet.’ J Bell LIVING WITH THE PSALMS
Psalm 8.3–5 When I look up at your heavens, the work of your fingers, at the moon and the stars you have set in place, what is a frail mortal, that you should be mindful of him, a human being, that you should take notice of him? Yet you have made him a little less than a god, crowning his head with glory and honour. ‘We are not the masters of the universe, nor are our human minds and bodies the only objects of fascination. All around us creation in its beauty and terror calls us to have a sense of proportion.’
Psalm 65.8 The dwellers at the ends of the earth are overawed by your signs. ‘Awe and wonder are evoked when we take long enough to be addressed by that which we are admiring. There is a poem, which used to be committed to memory by children, that begins; What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’ We along with all the other nations of our world have had more time to observe, reflect and to be aware of those around us as we entered the Coronavirus Pandemic at the start of the new year.
‘To see the natural order as a potentially hostile or a limiting entity that we have to dominate until it bends to our will is not living in harmony with creation; it is living in enmity. But the Psalms also give a clue as to how that sense of proportion can be secured and maintained. It is by continually being drawn into wonder at the world that surrounds us, such that we behave in ways that will show we respect the integrity of the world God has made.’
‘The simplicity of the language of Psalms should impress the truth upon us that when we are solely concerned with what we do, what we own, who we are and how we feel, this self-absorption will be detrimental to our life. We need, from time to time, to be taken out of ourselves, confronted and blessed by being fascinated by the natural world of which we are not in control. For some people this experience is what they find through hill walking or mountain climbing; for others it is in rearing a pet that has its own individuality; for yet others it is in tending to a garden, admiring wildlife, stargazing or standing on the shore and watching the sea. These are not romantic pursuits for those with time on their hands: they are the means by which we affirm our connectedness with all living things and are nurtured and even moved by a beauty not of our making’. Never has there been such need for our connectedness with people and the natural world around us due to the pandemic lockdown.
Let us continue to use the psalms as a real resource for our prayers and let us spend time reflecting on how we and the those around us have been seeking our connectedness within our community.
Psalm 145.10 All your creatures praise you, Lord, and your loyal servants bless you
Also this week let us focus our prayers on the return of our children to school and all that entails especially their safety and the safety of teachers and all ancillary staff.
KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING Peter