Sermon Scribbles: Awe-inspired


“What are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them?” – Psalm 8:4

This Psalm takes me back to my childhood. I recall warm summer nights laying out in the grass gazing up into the starry night sky and feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of it all. Here I was on planet Earth, in the Solar System, in the Milky Way Galaxy and on and on it would go, oh my! Or I remember looking on at the works of God’s fingers; the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. The sheer grandeur of these places made me feel both puny and awe-inspired at the same time. The Psalmist was right: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in their courses, what are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Ps. 8:3-4)

It’s interesting to think back to childhood and how awe-inspired we could be. Sure Grand Canyons and Niagara Falls and there like were wonderful; but let’s not forget the sheer amazement we would feel in the presence of nighttime skies and fireflies; of bugs and blades of grass. We adults, supposing we know better, have an explanation for all of this; or so we think. Sure it’s good and wonderful to learn why things are and how they work…but don’t pretend for one second that we really understand it any better than the awe-inspired three year old. Perhaps they understand the awesomeness of God’s creation far better than we; perhaps they should be our teachers rather than the other way round.

The Psalmist, presumably David, gets the childlike awe-inspired faith filled wonder in the presence of God’s good and miraculous creation bit. In fact, I like to imagine that perhaps the essence of this Psalm was written by the shepherd boy David while laying out in the vastness of the nighttime sky. This is a praise filled Psalm that has the fingerprints of childhood all over it.

There’s another awe-inspiring reality that children get more inherently then we adults; the sheer wonder at getting to help someone. I love to watch my three year old daughter. If my wife or I are cooking or cleaning or fixing something it won’t be long before she comes over declaring that she’s here to help. As children we love to help and be a part of the process…that’s important to remember too, it’s often about the process not the finished product. What’s even better is to be asked to be a part of the work that’s going on. As a boy I couldn’t wait for my mom or my dad to ask me to help them with what they were doing. It made me feel connected. It made me feel connected to them, and to life; just as the wonders of creation made me feel connected to all that was, vast as it all may be.

Again, the childlike Psalmist gets this reality. God is the sovereign Lord who made everything seen and unseen and rules over it. But this great sovereign Lord invites us to be a part of what he is doing. As a parent asks a child to help with a project so the Lord asks us to help in his work. I think that bears repeating. The sovereign God, the Lord Almighty who made heaven and earth, all that is seen and unseen and who rules over it all wishes for you to be his companion in the work that he does! Awe-inspiring to say the least! Think about the mighty works of God; creating all that is, parting the seas, dying and rising. In these, and indeed all of God’s mighty works God asks for our assistance. Note, he doesn’t need us but wants us to be a part. God creates and then asks us to give names to what he has created. God parted the seas yet asked Moses to hold out his staff. Jesus died and rose again for salvation for all yet welcomed a woman to anoint him for that good work.
And here’s the last little bit; the office we occupy as humans, being God’s coworkers, this office belongs to all people regardless of their belief. There is no acceptance of a set of doctrinal truths you must first pass before you can be God’s companion and share in his work. If you’re human then this office already belongs to you by virtue of having air in your lungs. The difference is that people of childlike faith know this is the great honor and glory bestowed upon us by God. Others though don’t know yet. So be that childlike person you were created to be, be awe-inspired by what you see God has done, then go and talk about in…tell others with joy and excitement as a child does when they regale you with their day. There was a saying that used to go around, children should be seen and not heard; hogwash! Children, go be seen and make some noise about what’s got you awe-inspired!


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