I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewellery, 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?Psalm 8:3-4 MSG
The text is now to be used as the basis of the inquiry, What is the moral effect of studying great subjects? When we consider the heavens, four results are secured:—
- We are impressed with God’s infinite independence of human help. We cannot touch one of His stars; we cannot control their courses; we cannot increase or diminish their light. When then God asks our help in anything, He does so for our good, and never to fill up the circle of His own ability.
- We see that creation is established upon a basis of order. The moral significance of this is plain. See what God would have in the moral universe. God is the God of order, and order is peace
- We see the infinite sufficiency of God to preserve all the interests we commit to Him. Is our house greater than God’s heavens, that He cannot be trusted with it?
- We see the essential difference between physical sovereignty and moral control. The weakest man is greater than the most magnificent star. In what does his superiority consist? In all that is implied in the term “will.” God seeks, by all the tender persuasiveness of His love, to bring that will into harmony with His own; when that is done, there will be a great calm. A consideration of the heavens will
- enlarge and strengthen the mind;
- show contrastively the power and weakness of man;
- excite the highest hopes regarding human destiny;
- tranquillise the impatience and fretfulness incident to an incomplete life.
- The student of nature should be on his guard against two possibilities:
- against mistaking creation for the Creator;
- against mistaking the transient for the permanent.
Jesus Christ, you come to transfigure us and to renew us in the image of God: shine in our darkness.
Jesus Christ, light of our hearts, you know our thirst: lead us to the wellspring of your Gospel.
Jesus Christ, light of the world, you shine on every human being: enable us to discern your presence in each person.
Jesus Christ, friend of the poor: open in us the gates of simplicity so that we can welcome you.
Jesus Christ, gentle and humble of heart: renew in us the spirit of childhood.
Jesus Christ, you send your Church to prepare your path in the world: open for all people the gates of your Kingdom. Amen