Questions-Day 14 (2/26/13)
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The fingerprint of God
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
I often enjoy Eugene Peterson's translation of the Bible, The Message translates this Psalm
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
In 1949, James T. Cleland, who was Professor of Preaching at Duke, preached a sermon entitled "A Religion That Sings." Two outstanding statements from Cleland's sermon have lasted through the decades:
"There are times and occasions when a religious person has to shout hallelujah or stand the risk of an inner explosion."
"Beware of a religion that does not sing! Steer clear of a congregation that does not sing."
Pick up your Bible and read Psalm 8.
There are two very different kinds of questions which stand side-by-side, always in need of each other. Each has a very distinct focus.
Science and evolution address the "how" question:
- How could all this have taken place?
- What evidence points to the processes, the connections, the development of life upon this planet?
- What are the facts?
But our Judeo-Christian faith addresses the "why" question:
- What is the meaning of all of this?
- What purpose, what depth of mystery and wonder, what experience of awe and majesty is to be found here?
- Why human existence?
- Why a meaningful, orderly creation and what is our place in it?
I like the way John E Harnish puts it,
"Don't expect the Bible to be a science textbook. It wasn't meant for that. And certainly don't allow the science book to become your Bible. Let science do its work without fear, since all truth is ultimately God's truth and all the facts are God's facts. But also, make room for the song of mystery and wonder at the majesty of God's creation."
The perspective with which we view and interpret life determines how we view life, whether it be the complexity of comprehending why seemingly evil actions are taken by people or the big questions of human existence. Our faith and the guidance of Scripture give us some understanding of many things, but when we cannot logically explain everything or that one something, our faith is what sustains us through the unanswerable dilemmas.
- Through the eyes of the world, it was another brutal murder which some question as historically accurate
- Through the eyes of faith, it was God so loving the world that he gave his only son
- Through the eyes of the world, he was another religious fanatic trying to make up for his torrid past actions
- Through the eyes of faith, Saul of Tarsus was changed in name and purpose by God to be Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ
- Through the eyes of the world, the poor, hungry, sick and imprisoned are a nuisance, people too lazy to pick themselves up and do something
- Through the eyes of faith, they are an opportunity to meet Christ (see Matthew 25)
- Through the eyes of the world, you and I are unbelievably insignificant - - just one of nearly 7 million people on the planet earth
- Through the eyes of faith, we are each incredibly important - - God knows us so intimately that even the hairs of our heads are numbered (a figure that changes daily for some of us)
Why does God bother with us?
This time, I have an answer. It is the words of a simple chorus which is not just a children's song: Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong . . . .