Daily Worship

God Is God

Rhona Cathcart June 12, 2024 7 5
Image credit: Unsplash
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Psalm 139: 15-18 (NRSVA)


    My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.


Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.


How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!


I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
    I come to the end—I am still with you.

The industrial revolution marked a huge change for the weaving industry. What had previously been a home-based trade became a factory-based occupation. My own ancestors left behind their own small mills and went to work in the factories, or in service. Instead of being independent contractors they were now very small cogs in a massive industry that brought in cheap labour from Glasgow.

In Lanark there were at least some industrialists who recognised the social cost paid by the workers. The world heritage site of New Lanark showcases the mill and housing community created by David Dale and his son-in-law Robert Owen. Owen in particular was concerned about the conditions of the workers and resolved to improve their lot, paying particular attention to the needs of the 500 or so children living in the village. In 1816 he opened the very first school for infants in the UK. The teachers were told never to beat their charges and to speak to them kindly.

At the same time, the raw material for the mill came from plantations powered by slave labour. Such are the contradictions of humanity — the ability to care for those closest to us while not always noticing, or perhaps even caring, what is happening further afield.

But God’s compassion has no such human blinkers. We do not understand how God can be so vast and yet also so personal. God is, as the psalmist notes, incalculable. God isn’t us, writ large. God is God.




God of all creation

Are you incalculable, innumerable, unfathomable?


God of all compassion

Are you also intimate, personal, knowable?

Also yes.

But how?


You are God, my Father. You are God.