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Worship – Expanding our Picture of God

Illustration for Christian speaker.

I’m sure that your ministry involves talking about the value of worship in various ways. Here are some stories I’ve found that really flesh out the sense of coming before a God who is so much bigger than anything we can imagine.
I hope this picture is useful—-a shepherd, poet and scientist looking up at the stars.

Story in the Stars Steven Mosley
The hills surrounding Bethlehem. c. 1000 B.C.
The sheep had settled down in their favorite hollows or were grazing in tight bunches. A clear wind from the Great Sea blew over the winter green hills. The sun threw its light over a string of clouds hovering over the western horizon. Gold. Magenta. Vermilion. Sunset splashed across the dark blue sky and David the shepherd stared in awe. Then the cool blue of dusk submerged the colors.
Finally night settled over the hills in earnest. Later he would remember it this way:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

New England. July 22, l878.
Walt Whitman, the poet, had gone out in the country for a visit and encountered what he believed comes only once or twice in a lifetime: a perfect night. Storm clouds had swirled across the sky, then suddenly vanished and left an atmosphere shining with exceptional clarity and glory.
“A large part of the sky,” Whitman wrote, “seemed just laid in great splashes of phosphorus. You could look deeper in, farther through, than usual; the orbs thick as heads of wheat in a field.” For a few moments this sky spoke eloquently to Whitman. He felt himself under the sky of the Bible, of Arabia, of the prophets, and of the oldest poems.
This “superhuman symphony” gave Whitman a “flashing glance of Deity,” and moved him to write: “As if for the first time, indeed, creation noiselessly sank into and through me its placid and untellable lesson, beyond–O, so infinitely beyond–anything from art, books, sermons, or from science, old or new. The spirit’s hour–religion’s
hour–the visible suggestion of God in space and time.”

“From Immigrant to Inventor.” 1890s.
Michael Pupin, world-class scientist, pioneer in X-ray photography, wrote at the close of his autobiography: “Fifty years ago, when as a member of a herdsman’s squad of boys I watched the stars on the black background of a summer midnight sky, I felt that their light was a language proclaiming the glory of God.” After years of deciphering starlight scientifically, their basic message for Pupin hadn’t changed: “The light of the stars is a part of the life-giving breath of God. I never look now upon the
starlit vault of the heaven without feeling this divine breath and its quickening action upon my soul.”

Shepherd, poet and scientist see the same picture in the stars, the suggestion of a glorious God who transcends all human limitations, all man-made symbols. God transcends. He is far above it all. Independent. Uncontainable. No wonder Isaiah exclaimed:
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.”

(Adapted from “Glimpses of God,” by Steven Mosley)

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