Robed in majesty, he reigns, sovereign from eternity; praise the Lord, the god of strength, robed in awesome majesty. Firm and sure the world will stand: here the Maker’s power is shown– yet, predating even time, firmer, surer stands his throne.
Surging seas and pounding waves: mightier is the Lord than these; mightier than the breaker’s roar, mightier than those surging seas. Holiness adorns his house; age on age will hear his law; praise the Lord, whose reign upholds holiness for evermore.
This planet would probably be a barren rock if it were not for the tectonic plates moving beneath us. Their movement helps regulate our atmosphere, temperature and the makeup of the ground beneath our feet and oceans. Yet they are also the cause of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. How could God create something so beneficial and yet so harmful?
This, and many other paradoxes, are reasons why many discount the existence of God. Yet there are many scientists, predominantly physicists, who still profess their faith. How can we square the circle?
The idea of God is both perfectly simple and indescribably complex. For me it is rooted in a feeling, which I then attempt to articulate. In my experience, God is. To elaborate on that statement is a never-ending work-in-progress.
Too often the words we use reinforces the impression that God is an old man in the sky, occasionally interfering with the world. We inherited that model of God from the earliest writings within the Bible, but as it was compiled the model developed and other views came into being. People of faith have grappled with trying to comprehend God from the dawn of time and will continue to do so into eternity.
When we speak of God’s strength, power and might, we need to be careful that we don’t limit their meaning by implying that they are ours to wield. Speaking of God requires attentiveness, humility and self-awareness.
A rephrasing of the Psalm:
God; spirit within, around, and beyond all that is. Creation displays your splendour and shows your power. God; present before, within, and beyond all time. Creation displays your timelessness and shows your constancy. After floods and storms, comes calm and stillness. After strife and noise, comes peace and silence. God is within it all.
Creation displays God’s constancy, holiness and eternity.
Creator God, revealed in the universe around us and present in the beating of our hearts, we place ourselves before you. May we be attentive to your urgings. Humble in our thoughts, words and actions. Aware of our own short-comings and preferences. Draw us ever closer to the way of Christ. Amen
The Rev’d David Coaker serves with Grays URC in Essex