the spiritual director
We bless you, master of the heavens, for the wonderful order which enfolds this world; grant that your whole creation may find fulfilment in the Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Prayer accompanying Psalm 8 in CW).
Lord, governor, master, majesty. These are all titles assigned to God the creator by this psalm and its accompanying prayer. I rather like the older translation: ‘O Lor d our Lor d, how majestic is thy name in all the earth.’
St Ignatius, the 16th centur y founder of the Society of Jesus had been a knight himself and understood the world of cour tly love. He was fond of referring to Christ as ‘his majesty’ and saw himself as bound to his heavenly lor d in dutiful and loving ser vice.
We all have our preconceptions of such words and the images they conjur e up for us in our mind’s eye. I have to get over the image of a shabby looking hotel in a tir ed seaside town called ‘The Majestic’ but there are other formative influences to hand. Br ought up on King Arthur, the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon poems describing a heroic society, not to mention The
Lord of the Rings, I have no problem picturing the cour t of heaven watching in wonder and amazement at the Lord of all flinging stars into space, breathing worlds into being and filling them with fabulous creatures.
Clearly there is a bit of Graham Kendrick and some CS Lewis at work in my imagination too here, which all goes to show how we r etain much more than we ar e conscious of at the time. What did the Psalmist have to help him ponder the wonder of the cr eated order? He had his own eyes of course and he consider ed (pondered) what he could see in the sky above and the ear th around him. Moon and stars, sheep and oxen, birds in flight and fish in the ocean. It worked on his imagination so that he could write this beautiful prayer - poem and marvel that all this was ordained by God’s word of command.
Yet perhaps the most amazing aspect of it all is in the middle of the psalm: ‘What ar e human beings, that you are mindful of them, mor tals that you care for them? Here in the very midst of creation is the human race, the apex of the created order and the apple of God’s eye, (cf Deut 32:10; Zech 2:8).
We know so much more about the vastness of the cosmos than the psalmist and we know how little we ar e in the great scheme of things, yet this psalm tells us that we have been made little lower than the angels and cr owned with glor y and honour. We know that is not the end of the stor y, however, for there is One called the Son of Man (capitals intentional) who alone is worthy of such praise and all cr eation will find its true fulfilment in him. Surely our voices should be joining those of the dwellers of heaven and the babes at their mothers’ br easts, praising and glorifying God?