The Rev. Dr. Brenda Pelc-Faszcza is Pastor of The First Congregational Church, Canton Center, and a lecturer at Yale Divinity School.
Scripture: Psalm 8, NRSV
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! The heavens, the work of your fingers...
Just outside the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, you can see an IMAX film that, with stunning effect, begins your introduction to the canyon before you’ve yet seen it with your own eyes. As the opening aerial scene pans over the majesty below and makes you feel like you’re flying right over it yourself, the voice-over says: "The Grand Canyon.... is it the work of God, or a symphony of nature?" In my theater seat, I wanted to get up and shout, "No, no, not 'or' -- they're the same thing!!!" The breathtaking artistry of nature is the work of God – they are the same thing, are they not? A psalm-inspired spirit doesn’t see any "or" between them.
But, we probably do this more often than we think. I've heard people say they can take themselves to a doctor for medical treatment or they can pray for healing, as though those are mutually exclusive things, God and medicine for physical bodies. As though the healing that comes through medical science and tends to earthly bodies has no God in it, no life-giving, love-bearing God in it. We can look to meteorologists for science-grounded understandings of how the cycles of nature are swirling around us at any given time, without ever once thinking of anything sacred within them. If we're going to divide up the world and all our experience into physical/material/science-interested things on the one hand, and then "God" on the other hand, there won't be much God for the other hand, will there?
That’s a false divide. God as the sheer force of creativity in, around and through everything in the universe is not instead of that material universe, or outside it, or against it, as in our old dualisms, but within it and manifested by it. As the psalmist wrote long in the past, all that majestic natural beauty we see -- that's God's own handiwork, it’s all sacred. Or, to put it another way, the world is God’s body, it’s all incarnational. We may have lots more information than the psalmist had, but no less awe and wonder, for that. In fact, knowing more can make you marvel more. And care more.
It’s all of apiece, isn’t it? The natural world and its exploration, beauty and its meaning, our science and our awe, matter and spirit, mind and heart… all one enterprise. God is in all.
This is my body….
Standing at the rim of the breathtaking canyon, that's what I felt.
Holy, Creative Love, how majestic is the beauty you have given forth of yourself!
May that beauty and wonder teach us that when we are looking at the breathtaking natural world, we are seeing you.
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at email@example.com.
Prayers of Intercession:
- for Doreen McKenna, mother-in-law of Emily McKenna, Office Manager for the CT Conference, who had surgery to treat breast cancer on Sept. 28
- for those grieving or suffering in Indonesia after an earthquake and resulting tsunami on Friday left more than 840 dead, hundreds more missing and thousands homeless
- for those in the path of Hurricane Rosa as it bears down on Arizona and threatens flooding other southwest U.S. states
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- those willing to discern what God is calling their churches to be today
- the autumn color changes just now beginning to decorate the trees
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Church of the Good Shepherd
Westbrook Congregational Church, UCC
Norfield Congregational UCC
Saugatuck Congregational UCC
The Congregational Church of Green's Farms, UCC
This Week in History:
Oct. 1, 1890 (128 years ago): Congress creates Yosemite National Park, another of God's wondrous creations. The land, nearly the same size as Rhode Island, had been protected since 1864 when President Lincoln declared the land a public trust of California. Yosemite was the 3rd U.S. National Park. [The Grand Canyon was designated a National Park in 1919.]