Spiritual Instruments

Scripture Focus: Psalm 19.1-4
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; 
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; 
night after night they reveal knowledge. 
3 They have no speech, they use no words; 
no sound is heard from them. 
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, 
their words to the ends of the world.

From John: The day before this devotional publishes, Sunday, April 11th, is the scheduled first flight of the Mars helicopter. May we continue to allow wonder at our universe to inspire humility and thankfulness to its creator.

Reflection: Spiritual Instruments
By John Tillman

Whatever scientific instruments we use, whether looking at evidence of black holes, at video from a helicopter on Mars, or deep within our own DNA, we find the fingerprints of God.

In Psalm 19, David tells us that the fingerprints of God are on the stars. Speech about God pours forth from the heavens in an unhearable voice that echoes through the Earth and to the “end of the world.” 

David wasn’t writing about the realities of physics but about spiritual realities. However, there are subatomic vibrations, unhearable to human ears, that do seem to testify to the creator. In an April interview with Steven Colbert, physicist, Michio Kaku, said while explaining string theory, “The mind of god is cosmic music resonating through hyperspace.” (Interview, Part One; Interview, Part Two

Kaku is not a devotee of any religion and the “god” he describes is an impersonal “god of order” not the God we know. However, the complexity and interconnectedness of what he can see, tells him that there is more to see. What he can know, tells him that there is more to know. 

Wonder about our universe is returning. With wonder comes seemingly contradictory truths about our humble state and our eternal destiny. We seem to be insignificant specks in the universe, yet the maker of that universe considers us not meaningless or trivial, but glorious and of eternal worth.

This week, or whenever you look to the heavens, pray this prayer from 2019, reflecting on Psalm 19.

Humbled by the Heavens
God, we stand in awe on our tiny planet.

You have placed us here among deserts, seas, and mountains that seem incredibly vast, yet they are just imperceptible ridges on the tiny ball of our planet.

And, in the vast darkness of space, our tiny blue dot of light seems so insignificant compared to the other great lights of the sky that you have created.

Thank you for heavens that humble us, Lord.

Without words, let us hear your glory, see your law, experience your touch and your love.

Yet you gave us more than wordless wonder, Lord. You send your Word, your Son, Jesus, to clarify your commands and enlighten our understanding.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,
   giving light to the eyes.


Give our eyes your light, our actions, your love, our words, your persuasive persistence. 

Make us spiritual instruments through which the world can detect your magnificent presence.

Image: The image in today’s devotional is of Sirenum fossae, a geological feature of Mars.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
O God, you have taught me since I was young, and to this day I tell of your wonderful works. — Psalm 71.17

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 16 (Listen – 5:36)
Psalms 19 (Listen – 1:52)

Read more about Humbled by the Heavens
David’s ancient psalm tells us where to learn about our “unobservable” God—in the heavens.

Read more about The Materialist Cosmos
If the cosmos of the materialist is the real cosmos, it is not much of a cosmos. — GK Chesterton

Humbled by the Heavens :: A Guided Prayer

Psalm 19.1
The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Reflection: Humbled by the Heavens :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

In our world many have a temporal superiority complex that author, Michael Crichton described as being a “temporal provincial.” These are those who think or behave as if their position in the present automatically proves them more intelligent, more capable, more resourceful, and more “human” than those who lived in prior ages. One of the side effects of evolutionary thought is falling into the trap of believing that modernity is automatically an upgrade.

Clothed in our modern superiority, we often look down at ancient peoples, thinking that they looked up at the sky and fell into religion through ignorance and scientific ineptitude. But as the scientific tools at our disposal give us greater levels of information, we remain stunned into awe at the size and scope of what we still don’t know.

As the world gazes in wonder at evidence of black holes that New York Times writer, Dennis Overbye called, “the image of the unobservable,” David’s ancient psalm tells us where to learn about our “unobservable” God—in the heavens. This weekend, reflect and pray through David’s psalm extolling the undeniable, wordless speech of God through the wonder of his creation that we, like David, can see with our naked eyes, if we will but open them.

Humbled by the Heavens

The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
   night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
   no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
   their words to the ends of the world.

God, we stand in awe on our tiny planet.

You have placed us here among deserts, seas, and mountains that seem incredibly vast, yet they are just imperceptible ridges on the tiny ball of our planet.

And, in the vast darkness of space, our tiny blue dot of light seems so insignificant compared to the other great lights of the sky that you have created.

Thank you for heavens that humble us, Lord.

Without words, let us hear your glory, see your law, experience your touch and your love.

Yet you gave us more than wordless wonder, Lord. You send your Word, your Son, Jesus, to clarify your commands and enlighten our understanding.

The commands of the Lord are radiant,
   giving light to the eyes.

Give our eyes your light. Give our actions your powerful love. Give our words your persuasive persistence and care. Make us instruments through which the world can see your magnificent presence.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Everyone will stand in awe and declare God’s deeds; they will recognize his works. — Psalm 64.9

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 16 (Listen – 5:36)
Psalm 19 (Listen – 1:52)

This Weekend’s Readings
Leviticus 17 (Listen – 2:39) Psalm 20-21 (Listen – 2:37)
Leviticus 18 (Listen – 3:46) Psalm 22 (Listen – 3:49)

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Read more about The Materialist Cosmos :: Throwback Thursday
If the cosmos of the materialist is the real cosmos, it is not much of a cosmos. The whole of life is something much more grey, narrow, and trivial than many separate aspects of it.

Read more about In The Face of Wonder :: A Guided Prayer
The freedom the world seeks is freedom to dominate, dictate, and destroy. This freedom is a lie that seeks power and blessing for ourselves.
May we seek instead the freedom to serve, to create, and to restore. We can do this only in your power and through your Holy Spirit.

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