I love this Psalm. Where we live, on clear nights you can stand outside, under the stars and look back millions of years into the depths of space, free from light pollution and that murky orange glow. It is an experience where this Psalm comes to life. It’s one of those moments where the language in the Bible and human experience fuse together to give you insight and confidence. At those moments, it seems to me perfectly obvious that there has to be a hand behind the magnificence, that the universe stands in an order born of divinity.
Not everyone thinks like me - one of my best friends denies the very possibility of God, preferring an explanation full of science and devoid of meaning. It would be very easy for us to fall out, but somehow we don’t.
How do the people of God engage with a community which is largely indifferent and sometimes downright hostile to our faith? I believe we are called to witness into that community, telling our stories with grace, passion and humility. We should not shrink away from the world or telling the Good News - as my bishop says: our faith is personal but not private. But nor should we be overbearing or arrogant.
We have the amazing assurances of the Christian faith not through our own efforts but through what Jesus has done for us. Our awareness of our own weakness and failings gives us a ready reference point for the struggles of others outside the faith. God is calling us to dialogue between the faiths and across the barrier of belief.
Almighty God, the beauty and scale of your creation is overwhelming in its majesty. We see your hand and care for us in the myriad galaxies and the tiniest flower.
By your grace you have saved us. Let us be beacons for you in our communities, living lives which show the joy of knowing you and being ready always to share your story and ours with compassion, grace and modesty.
In Jesus name, Amen.
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.