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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 104:1-9

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
   O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
   wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
   you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
   you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
   fire and flame your ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
   so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
   the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
   at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
   to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
   so that they might not again cover the earth. (NRSV)

Reading a passage of Scripture like Psalm 104, it is easy to feel that there is a great gap between the understanding of the author and our own. How is it possible to receive important faith truths from someone who believed that God placed the waters of heaven and earth (yes, ancient Israelites believed the sky was a dome holding back water) exactly where they are?

They didn’t know that the world is a planet surrounded by an atmosphere. They had no framework to understand the processes of terrestrial formation, plate tectonics, and erosion. When we view the Bible in this way, we live into a system of thinking that assumes that scientific theories and explanations leave no room for faith-based understandings of our world and all that happens in it. Think about your own life and your relationship with the world around you—when you feel you’ve understood something from a scientific point of view, do you continue to try to find where God is at work in that place or process?

Actor and scientist Mayim Bialik produces a vlog (online video blog), and recently she shared her thoughts on what it means for her to be a scientist and a person of faith at the same time. (You can view the vlog here.) I think her comments are worthy of our consideration: “The God I believe in is the force in the universe that drives all of the phenomena that we experience as human beings. God is gravity. God is centrifugal force. And God is the answer to why everything is the way it is, in the natural world. . . . Understanding equations that describe gravity, and pressure, and force, and torque, is science—and that’s amazing. But having a spiritual connection with that information—so much so that it brings you to your knees, because it is so unbelievable—is what it means to have a relationship with God.”

Creator God—maker of heaven and earth—sharpen my perception and my understanding, that I might better comprehend the great wonder revealed in your creation. In so doing, make me sensitive to the truth: that your loving and sustaining presence is, always, all around me. Amen.

Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism

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