“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.” (Psalm 8:1)
Here’s a devotional prompted by a late-night chore: wheeling the trash can to the curb under a clear night sky. Whatever your perspective on faith, you have gazed at the stars, maybe wondered about life out there, and considered your place in the universe.
Our Milky Way galaxy alone is over 100,000 light years wide, and it is estimated to be one among billions in the universe. The ancient King David, the author of this psalm in the Bible, could see with his eyes some .001% of the 100 billion stars in our galaxy. David must have stood under the night sky and pondered just how vast the cosmos was, and then he asked God: “What are human beings, that you care for them?” The question contains a clue to the answer: God cares. The Bible presents God as the creator who is involved in creation, the One who pays attention to the ones who bear God’s image: you and me.
One of the ill effects of this pandemic has been to isolate us from one another. Isolation, whether forced or voluntary, can quickly make us feel small, powerless and forgotten. We do well to remember how vital it is to pass along the gift of attention: to be present as best we can, to listen, and to respond to one another with compassion.
In a traditional prayer used to ask God’s blessings on persons with a terminal illness, there is a beautiful reminder of God’s care: “You are the God whose only-begotten Son taught us that not even the smallest sparrow can fall without Your knowledge, and that You hold all creation in Your merciful arms.” You may know that same lesson from the Gospel music standard: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
How wonderful it is to know that you make a difference in the world. How good it is to know that God notices you and cares for you. May God keep us aware of the wide wonder of His love.
Steven Spell is a chaplain with Amedisys Hospice.