Weekly Devotional – Week of Monday, January 4, 2020
Opening Prayer (from Occasional, BCP 2019)
Lord Jesus, Master Carpenter of Nazareth, on the Cross through wood and nails you wrought our full salvation: Wield well your tools in this, your workshop, that we who come to you rough-hewn may be fashioned into a truer beauty by your hand; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen.
Bible Reading – Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (ESV)
Devotional –Strength for the New Year
When is the last time you woke early in the morning to just sit and watch the beauty of a sunrise? Or, took the time to pull up a chair and watch a majestic sunset? Personally, I think we should all take time to do both on a regular basis. Watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset is some of the best medicine for the soul. There is something about watching the sun go up and down that reminds us in a tangible way that we are not in charge. Most of the things we do in our lives are completely within our control. But the sun coming up and going down puts us in our rightful place. No matter how hard we might try we cannot slow it down, speed it up, or freeze it in place. It reminds me of the line from the song “Fly Like and Eagle” by Steve Miller Band, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.”
Today’s Psalm reading speaks to the importance of taking time to observe the beauty and majesty of creation. When we take the time to do it, it gives us a glimpse into the beauty and majesty of our creator. As we gaze upon the vastness of His creative work, it has the power to leave us in complete awe and wonder. How small and insignificant we can feel when we stare into the amazing complexity of this world that He has created. But far from being an insignificant part of this beautiful and majestic creation, our Psalmist reminds us our rightful place in it all.
In verse 5 our Psalmist proclaimed this about mankind after considering the glory of God’s creation, “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” What a great reminder about who we are and the role we play in God’s creation. He loves us so much that He has given us life. He has “crowned” us with “glory and honor” and given us the responsibility and authority to care for all creation on His behalf. How is that for a purposeful and significant life?
If we are honest about this great honor and glory God has given us, the truth is that we do not always do a very good job fulfilling it. More often than not we use, abuse and neglect God and the great gift of His creation. We manipulate it in ways that benefit our own wants and desires with no regard to God or our fellow man. When it comes to living into this great honor and glory that we have been given, we all have failed and fall short of the glory of God.
This is not the only place in the Scriptures that these words from Psalm 8 are declared. This same Psalm is quoted in Hebrews chapter 2. Yet Hebrews 2 attributes this Psalm to the saving work of Jesus Christ the Son of God. In Hebrews 2:9 it says this about Jesus, “But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” The good news of Psalm 8, is that where we have failed to live rightly into the “honor and glory” that God has given us, God sent His one and only Son to fulfill it for us. Where we have failed, Jesus succeeded and because of His success our failure is forgiven. Jesus died the death that we deserve so that in His great honor and glory might be imputed to us.
As we begin a new year together, take the time this year to wake up early and watch the majesty of a sun rise. Make the time to watch the beauty of a sunset. And as you gaze upon the beauty and majesty of God creation, know that you are a significant part of His plan. But better still, rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus has come in great honor and glory so that we might enjoy God and His creation forever.
Closing Prayer (from the Book of Occasional Prayers, BCP 2019)
O heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.