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Friday, January 15, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 147:1–11

Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
   for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
   he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted,
   and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
   he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
   his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
   he casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
   make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
   prepares rain for the earth,
   makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food,
   and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
   nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
   in those who hope in his steadfast love. (NRSV)

According to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a major survey undertaken at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, there are approximately 6 times 1022 stars in the universe. That’s a six with 22 zeros. That’s sixty billion trillions. That’s incomprehensively large.

It’s fair to say that the author of Psalm 147 would not have known just how large the universe was when he wrote this psalm. Given our new window into the vastness of the universe, can we still make the claim that God numbers and names each of these stars individually? Can we make the claim that God would be able to care for each of us, small as we are, in a universe so large?

It’s not just the stars, though; there is also greatness in the small things as well. In his 2012 book Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe, writer David Blatner notes that despite the vast number of stars in the universe, there are actually more molecules in ten drops of water than there are stars in the universe. The miracle of vastness is all around us—not just in the stars, but in every fiber of creation.

And yet, despite all this vastness, all of the molecules of the universe would not even be a drop in the bucket of infinity. If God is indeed infinite, we need not worry about being too small in the universe. We are known, we are named, we are loved—and for that, we are ever-grateful.

Awe-inspiring God, I am grateful that no matter how vast this universe might be, you still know me by name. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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