Pastoral Perspectives

Beyond the Stars

Two weeks ago, NASA released five images from the James Webb Space Telescope. NY Times reported, “The pictures highlighted the great potential of the telescope to plumb the secrets of deep space.” I wonder what secrets the deep space holds for us.

The pictures from NASA remind us how small and finite we are. It also reminds us there is something much bigger out there in space. Many were in awe of what the telescope was able to capture. It was hailed as one of the deepest images yet taken of the cosmos. I felt like a speck of dust just looking deep into the pictures.

During our recent Church Retreat, Dr Solomon shared with us that looking up at the sky helps him find his bearing in this ever-changing world. Something about the sky reminds us that there is something beyond us that remains steadfast and unchanging- untouched by human hands.

Most of us living in cities would hardly have time and the environment to look up at the sky and appreciate the wonder of God’s creation. In fact, today we are likely to marvel over technological innovations, medical progress, human achievements even more than God’s creation. People in the ancient world perhaps were in a better position to appreciate the majesty and glory of God’s creation as recorded for us in Psalm 8.

David says in v1-4:
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

God has set his glory above the heavens! Yes, there are new discoveries. But the discoveries only reveal what has always been there, put in place by the creator. All human discoveries point to something much deeper. It is truly majestic, and they display the glory of our Lord.

Against the vast backdrop of such a magnificent cosmos, the psalmist brings human beings into the picture. The same God who created the heavens also created human beings. We are also the work of His fingers! Not only that, He “cares” for us. God pays attention to us – His created beings and took the initiative to reach out to us and to ensure that we are taken care of. And He interacts with us!

Really, does God really care for His people? Is God able to handle everything and pay attention to each individual? In the movie, Bruce Almighty, Bruce the character who gets to play “god” for one day learns that God does not operate like human beings. Bruce is unable to handle all the prayer requests and the powers that comes with being “god”. It is a reminder for us that as finite creatures, we are limited in many ways. We can only do so much at any given time and space and so it baffles us that God should care and pay attention to all His children.

Recently we had to move house again and due to unforeseen circumstances, we had one week to find a new place. One Thursday after our choir practice, I shared with some of the members, and they said they would pray for us. A member found an interesting listing on a property website that night and shared the link with me. It was past midnight, but I sent a message to the agent. The person responded. To cut the long story short, we viewed the place on a Sunday, signed the contract on a Tuesday and moved in on a Thursday. This is the God who watches over His people! He pays attention to the cries of His children. Not only is God far above the heavens but He also dwells among His people! Like the psalmist, I asked “What is man that you are mindful of him?”

This is the God who created the world, the heavens and all of us. How majestic is His name in all the earth, the heavens and every detail of our lives! And it doesn’t end there. In His perfect wisdom, He created us in His image making us ‘rulers’ over His creation. With that privilege also came responsibility and wise management. God’s love for us is so great, so deep and so marvellous that Paul says in Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The God who ‘flung the stars into space’ and suspended them continues to sustain us. The image from NASA might have captured images that are light years away but the very God who created them is very close to us. He is God Immanuel and reveals Himself to those who love Him.  There are many things too deep for us to fathom. But we hope in the one whose skill and wisdom truly exceeds ours.

Just as the earth and heavens declare His glory, may we- the crowning glory of creation display His majesty and splendour in all that we do, to the praise of His glorious name!

Pr Loliro Sani

July 31, 2022