By Beth Ferguson, Lay Leader and Member to the Annual Conference.
Lord, our Lord, how majestic
is your name throughout the earth!
You made your glory higher than heaven![b]
2 From the mouths of nursing babies
you have laid a strong foundation
because of your foes,
in order to stop vengeful enemies.
3 When I look up at your skies,
at what your fingers made—
the moon and the stars
that you set firmly in place—
4 what are human beings
that you think about them;
what are human beings
that you pay attention to them?
5 You’ve made them only slightly less than divine,
crowning them with glory and grandeur.
6 You’ve let them rule over your handiwork,
putting everything under their feet—
7 all sheep and all cattle,
the wild animals too,
8 the birds in the sky,
the fish of the ocean,
everything that travels the pathways of the sea.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!
Psalm 8, Common English Bible
Today, we have another Psalm of praise for God’s creation. David, the Psalmist speaks of the amazing universe, the stars and the moon and the beauty of the earth itself. He wonders at the place of humans among all of God’s glory. He is amazed that God considers us at all among all that is. He is in awe of our place in creation, that we can control all of the other creatures of the land and the sea. In this Psalm, David is feeling insignificant as he studies the awesome beauty around him.
I was just reading in my National Wildlife magazine that if the humans disappeared, the earth would barely notice, though I’m sure that it would heal itself. However, if the insects and other invertebrates disappeared nothing would survive for very long. They are the basis of life, food for birds, and other creatures. They clean up the dead carcasses; they pollinate the plants; earthworms move the earth around and keep the soil aerated. As we plant our gardens and look at our lawns, we use a lot of pesticides which kill the helpful insects, while killing the annoying and harmful ones. As we plant beautiful flowers in our gardens, native plants provide food for native birds, while exotic plants look pretty, but native birds can’t eat them.
Humans are only one type of creature in God’s universe. Regardless of the color of our skin, we are all human beings, and all have the same 22 chromosomes. Our genes give us different eye color and hair color and facial features, and different color skin, but we have the same DNA. Somehow, we forget that, and see only the outside appearance. Help us to remember that the Lord, God created us all and loves us all equally.
God has created an amazing world for us to live in, but we are only caretakers for a little while in the history of the earth and in the universe. As we look at the stars and the moon, we wonder at what is out there in the rest of the universe. Has God created life on other planets? We send spaceships out to try to find out about other planets in our own galaxy- what an amazing brain that God has given us to be able to do that.
Yet, we are just a small part of the universe. We can only sit back in awe at the sunrises and sunsets. When we get out of the cities, we can see the millions of stars in the sky, and wonder, like David did, “what are human beings, that you pay attention to them.”
“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!”
Prayer from the Extended Cabinet
By Rev. Taesung-Kang, New Hampshire District Superintendent (based on Psalm 8 & Genesis 1:2-4a)
Holy Trinity, who creates, redeems, and sustains us.
You who are filled with wonder and splendor,
You who made us in your image and call us your children,
You who brought us out of the darkness into your light,
You who dwells among us and guides us to the fullness of life.
As we begin this day with heavy hearts for what’s happening around us,
We turn to you in a desperation and with righteous anger,
Without your presence and peace, we lose our way.
God of mercy and grace,
Forgive us for our silence and ignorance about systematic racism and injustice,
Humble us so we may repent our sin against you and our siblings,
Open our eyes, O God, so that we may see your own image in all of whom you have made,
Give us your prophetic words and courage to speak out against injustice,
Strengthen us to confront unjust systems so we may dismantle racial prejudice,
Help us to embrace one another with love as we work towards equality for all races,
Impart your peace and comfort unto those who have deeply been hurt by the sin of racism,
Heal us all, your precious children, and bind us together by the power of the Holy Spirit,
So that …
In our generation,
We may truly celebrate one another for all that we are,
We may live out more fully your kin-dom here on earth,
We ask it in your Triune Name — the name above all names, now and forevermore. Amen.