Home Service 25/7/21
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night? Who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land? the LORD is his name (Amos 5:8).
Psalm of the Cosmos (source unknown)
Loving God, all creation calls you blessed.
Your spirit imprints the whole universe with life and mystery.
Yes, all creation proclaims your love.
We now join this chorus of praise.
For you have woven an intimate tapestry and called it life and called it good.
In love you have formed a universe so diverse yet so related,
and into its web you call us forth
to walk the land and swim the sea with all our natural brothers and sisters.
To the stars we seem no more than blades of grass.
Yet to you, each of us, as each blade of grass and each star, is an irreplaceable treasure, an essential companion on this journey of love.
Loving God, as you lure the whole world into salvation guide us with your Spirit that we might not be only pilgrims on the earth but pilgrims with the earth, journeying home to you.
Open our hearts to understand the intimate relationship that you have with all creation.
Only with this faith can we hope for tomorrow’s children.
Loving God, all creation calls you blessed and so do we.
Please read Job 38
We’ve recently been hearing a lot about space travel and the human quest to explore deep space. Branson, Musk and Bezos have been feverishly funding research and development into cost effective rockets that are able to safely transport us into orbit around the earth. I believe the costs might be a little restrictive – but if anybody would like to see me strapped to a rocket and shot skywards, please feel free to send me a ticket.
My family have great fun pointing out that I am still a geek. The engineer, mathematician, and scientist in me haven’t disappeared simply because I’ve entered the ministry. One of my life’s great thrills is standing outside at night, looking upwards to the stars and wondering…
I’m pretty good at recognising the major constellations: Orion, Ophiuchus, Ursa Major (and Minor), Pegasus, Pleiades…
Orion and the Pleiades are mentioned in Job 38. It’s part of a long section where Job, having gone through some horrendous times, seeks an explanation from God, whereupon God lets rip and points out that Job and his friends don’t really know what they’re talking about. This leads into an extended section proclaiming God’s greatness:
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?
This isn’t the only time these constellations get mentioned – they also used in Amos 5:8 to point out the sheer greatness of God the Creator.
I can see Orion and the Pleiades from my house. I go outside into my back garden and there they are – right above me, shining down on where I live.
I know the stars have been there for countless millennia and the same night sky is visible to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s something awe-inspiring in the fact that Amos and Job and a minister shivering in Poulton because he went out on a cold night wearing just a t-shirt can look up and see the same constellations. I guess it gives me a shared experience with people who lived thousands of years ago, a common humanity with writers from a different country, different culture, a different world almost.
And as those constellations are used to point to the glory and the power and the immensity of God, then I can look at them and be reminded that, while they’ve been around for so, so long, while the light I’m seeing was actually emitted thousands of years ago and so I’m looking into the past, the God they speak of is eternal, his character unchanging. Amos saw Orion in 750BC, I saw it in 2021BCE, but we both went outside our houses, looked up, and thought of the same God. That’s amazing.
And, more amazing still, the same God looks back, in all his power and majesty, and says that he loves us. Amen.
Suggested music www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bDoMflYErE For the Beauty of the Earth. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2BqFgm6_M O Worship the King all glorious above. www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJMaNZ84xsw O Lord, All the World Belongs to You www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeCJJiMYR74 Let All Creation Sing