By Kent French
October 20, 2022 - 10:19am
This autumn, our worship follows our Church School curriculum, Seeking God Together. We are learning in worship alongside the youngest members of our community.
O God, how manifold are your works; in wisdom you have made them all. Psalm 104:24
Lately I've been watching lots of sunrises. And while I do, I marvel that we still speak of them as the sun rising or setting on us. Or as the French poetically say it in everyday speech, that the sun gets up and lies down. These colorful morning paeans remind me that ever since Copernicus' 16th century celestial studies forever changed our concept of who and what exactly is at the center of our galaxy, we are the ones who are actually turning toward or away from the sun. Or more precisely, it's the Earth turning us toward and away from the sun. (Incidentally, Aristarchus of Samos posited the same idea 18 centuries earlier. Sometimes it takes humanity a LONG time to pull ourselves out of our own dramas and better comprehend the truth of God’s creation.)
During this morning prayer time, I marvel at how our planet continually spins and rotates through the seasons of the year, all while making a 584-million mile lap around the sun. I watch the world waking up around me: seagulls, cormorants, ducks, geese, seals, spider crabs, commuter boats, morning joggers and commuters, dogs and their walkers. And I marvel at it all. It's an impressive, ongoing array.
During my Spring sabbatical, in the seaside down of Sainte-Maxime, I saw a statue honoring the Provençal Nobel laureate writer, Frédéric Mistral, with his quote: Quand le Bon Dieu en vient à douter du monde, il se rappelle qu'il a créé la Provence (When the Good Lord comes to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence). It was a statement of regional pride for Mistral, however, I especially liked the theology in it. When God despairs of all that humanity does to mess up the world, God turns to the wonder of the creation S/He/They made.
We serve our souls well when we do the same. I've discovered that the best antidote to the daily news, the continuing drone of how humanity is screwing things up and harming one another, as well as the incessant machinations of our hard-wired anxious brains, is to stop and marvel at what God and God's creation do all the time, with or without us. And it will continue doing it for a long time, with or without us, regardless of whether we burn ourselves out of a place on the planet. It's humbling. It's inspiring. If we're open to it, it turns us to wonder and gratitude.
On Sunday we will frame our worship with the beauty of Psalm 104, joining our Church School in reflecting on why it's important, even essential, to marvel at Creation. We will also baptize the youngest member of our community and give a special blessing to one of our youth headed on an international adventure. I look forward to sharing these marvelous moments with you.
Autumn Worship Series
October 23 Marveling (Psalm 104)
October 30 Saying Thanks (Luke 17:11-19; Colossians 3:14-17)
November 6 Crying Out, All Saints (Psalm 130; Book of Job)
Guest Speaker: Gerami Groover-Flores, Executive Director
Hamilton-Garrett Center for Arts & Music
November 13 Confessing (Psalm 21:1-8)
November 20 Celebrating (Psalm 11, 150)
Advent 1: November 27 "There's room for every story” (Matthew 1:1-17, Isaiah 2:1-5)
Image credit: Sunrise over Boston harbor, October 19, 2022. Photo by Kent French