Preparing for Worship – Darren DeMent, associate pastor.
Have you ever had the opportunity to observe the night sky in a dark sky preserve or registered dark sky park? I’ve been fortunate enough to have that experience a few times in my life, and it is truly breathtaking.
Those of us who live in urban centers rarely have the chance to see the night sky in all its glory. The moon and stars and planets are up there all the time, of course, but all of the man-made light we surround ourselves with keeps us from being able to see them fully. But when you get out where it’s dark, I mean really dark, the sky comes alive in a way that defies verbal description. In those moments, when faced with the enormity and vastness of what exists out there beyond us, it’s hard to feel anything but small.
This morning we will hear the choir sing an anthem based on Psalm 8, a psalm that focuses on God’s divine majesty. At the time the psalmist penned these words, dark skies were much easier to come by, but I’d like to imagine they might have experienced the same sense of smallness that I’ve had when looking up at a star-filled night sky. It may have been that sense of smallness that led them to write: “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?”
When faced with the scope of all that God has created and our place among it, it only makes sense to feel humbled by it. I mean, in the grand scope of the universe, who are any of us? Why should any of what we do or think or feel or believe matter? I can’t for the life of me come up with a good reason why it should, but here’s the thing: it does.
We matter to God, and whether we necessarily feel worthy of that seems to be beside the point. For reasons that may evade us or be beyond our understanding, God has, in the words of the psalmist, crowned us with glory and honor. We are, all of us, beloved children of God.
So the next time you are fortunate enough to be underneath a night sky that can reveal all of God’s handiwork, rather than be overwhelmed by how small you might feel, instead be overwhelmed by how much you are loved by the God that created all that you are looking at.