This psalm, like the first creation story in this week’s Genesis reading, is a deep call to awe and wonder as we consider what it means to be human in the face of the basic paradox of our lives. On the one hand, we need only look up outdoors to see the vastness of space, filled as it is with billions of stars and planets, in order to feel our tininess against all of this enormity. Next to such apparent limitlessness we can see that we human beings are no bigger than a swarm of gnats over a bowl of fruit. Still, as the first Creation story has already told us this week, and as our own hearts witness to us daily, God cares for us as though we have the cosmic significance of angels, going so far as to place the earth and its inhabitants “under our feet.”
We have been given a similar “dominion” over it all, a responsibility to care for the world and everything in it as God continually creates and tends it with love and longing for its well-being. However, we have not fulfilled our responsibility well. Instead, we have ground creation under our feet for our own profit. We have exploited and polluted, poisoned and corrupted the goodness of the air, the water, and the land until we can barely live in it.
This psalm painfully reminds us that care for the earth is still our job. We may not be able to restore it to what it was, but nevertheless we can make healing choices if we pay attention, use our imaginations, and refuse to give in to despair.
Dear God, help us learn to love the world you have entrusted to us with something like your own love. Since we are made in your image, we know we have this capacity to learn. Amen.
Our first reading is arguably one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. Even among those who believe that God created the world, there is controversy. For example, should the days be understood as literal or symbolic? Much time and trouble have been spent in arguing about these things. A different approach is found in Psalm 8, where the author simply praises God for the majestic work of creation without needing to work out all the details. Perhaps this approach would lead to more love and peace among the people of God, as Paul hopes for in Second Corinthians. Matthew describes the ascension, where Jesus tells his followers to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, an appropriate passage in preparation for Trinity Sunday.
Read Genesis 1:1–2:4a. When has reading the Bible in a new way or with new knowledge changed your experience of the text?
Read Psalm 8. How do you feel called to care for the earth God has given us?
Read 2 Corinthians 13:11-13. How does your faith community heed Paul’s advice to the Corinthians? How does it fall short?
Read Matthew 28:16-20. Recall a time of doubt. How has that experience made your faith stronger?
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