The depths within

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. Psalm 8:3-5 NRSV

I think most of us, at some point, have experienced the first part of the psalmist’s passage. Who hasn’t looked up into the unfathomable depth of the night sky, at the countless throng of stars reaching out to us from thousands of years ago – and that only the thinnest layer on the surface of God’s creation – and wondered at how small we are in the enormity of it all?

That is a very normal, and very human, reaction – to realize we are but infinitesimal specks in creation, occupying but a brief flutter in the span of time. It is good, now and then, to remember in this life we are only a small piece of a much grander production. But, what of the second part of this passage? How often do we stare into the enormity of creation, and realize that incomprehensible depth is a reflection of our own being?

These two views represent the great conflict of human life: we can see ourselves as insignificantly small, living only in and through the brief span of our physical desires; or we can see ourselves as immeasurably great, created and crowned in God’s glory, inextricably linked to and serving God and all of God’s creation.

In the first view we define our worth only in the pleasure and possessions we can scratch out of our brief existence. In the second, we step out of our egoic selves, and realize that in God our being and our meaning expands to the infinite reaches of creation. When we surrender the limited view of ourselves, and live instead in the infinite love of God and all creation, we become one with all that is, all that has been, and all that ever will be.

Lord, help us today to live not within the limits of our physical selves, but rather to live through selfless love, in union with you and all creation. Amen.

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