Formations 01.03.2021: The Works of God’s Hands

Psalm 8

On December 21, stargazers got a rare treat. For the first time since March 4, 1226, Jupiter and Saturn came close enough to each other at night that they appeared as one giant star. (Their paths have come this close at other times, but the sun was too bright to allow viewing.) The conjunction was an optical illusion, as the two planets were actually still “hundreds of millions of miles apart” (Strickland), but from our viewpoint on Earth it looked like a miracle.

And we needed that miracle. After the turmoil of 2020, we needed a sign of hope and a glimpse of the majesty of our all-powerful God.

People often put science and faith in a debate. For them, the two concepts are at war with each other. They think that accepting the reason of science means dismissing the belief of faith, and vice versa. But I don’t see it that way. For me, the advances in science, the discoveries about the way creation is put together and how it works, and the adaptation of new knowledge into daily life on planet Earth are marvelous boosts to my faith.

When I studied human anatomy and biology and meteorology in school and marveled at the complexity of even the smallest atoms, I rejoiced in the glory of God. When I read about the scientists, epidemiologists, and medical professionals who worked so hard in 2020 to research, study, and develop the components of a successful COVID-19 vaccine, I rejoiced in the glory of God. When I stood with my family under the night sky and witnessed the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, I felt awed by the accuracy of astronomists, and I rejoiced in the glory of God.

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

(Ps 8:1, 3-4)

And yet God does care for us mortals! In this new year, as we move toward a leadership change in our government, as we continue to take precautions against COVID-19, and as we await our turn for the vaccine and try to stay safe, may we spend some moments looking around at God’s creation. The sky, both day and night. The trees that will eventually begin to bud with new life. The flowing water of creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. The dogs and cats. The human beings. All of these are the mighty works of God’s hands, miraculously built of microscopic components. To look at them is to see the glory of God.

Ashley Strickland, “Watch for the ‘Christmas star’ as Jupiter and Saturn Come Closer than They Have in Centuries,” CNN, 16 December 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/16/world/christmas-star-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-scn-trnd/index.html.

Discussion

• What parts of God’s creation fill you with the most awe?
• How does science enhance your appreciation of God’s care in creating the universe?
• What happened in 2020 that makes you feel thankful in spite of the trauma?
• What makes you most hopeful for 2021?
• How can you incorporate an appreciation for God’s creation into your everyday life? In what ways could that help you feel closer to God as you embark on this new year?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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