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Spiritual Life

Just looking around could be the most profound homily

Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Union Presbyterian Church’s July Fourth Pancake Breakfast drew a patriotic crowd last year.

When I was in the Boy Scouts, we did a lot of backpacking.

We’d hike in on Saturday, camp overnight and then hike back Sunday. Sundays before we left camp – breakfast over, tents rolled up and stowed, backpacks ready, canteens full – we would have chapel. It was sometimes led by our chaplain, sometimes by one of the Scouts working toward his religion merit badge.

The sermon was always essentially this: “Look around you. We have gotten to see a different part of the world with all this beautiful scenery, with the streams we’ve passed and the forest we’ve camped in. Look around and see what a good God we have.” That was the message every time.

It was fine for what it was. I preached recently on Psalm 19 – King David also had looked around. He had gazed in wonder at the night sky and marveled at what God had made. Psalm 19 begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

I love learning about the universe and the wonders it contains – there are billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, and just in our little solar system, there are incredible things like volcanoes on distant moons that don’t spew lava but weirder stuff (I heard someone say it was liquid methane). How cool would that be to see that in person?

But the truth is, I don’t need volcanoes on distant moons – those Boy Scout sermons were good enough. I look around and see living things that only need air, water, light and a bit of dirt to grow. I can see the great variety of animals and the distant stars, and I know for certain that this world didn’t just happen. It was made.

And while that’s good, it isn’t good enough. David ends the Psalm with a desire to be clean and innocent because of God’s goodness and righteousness. David longed for what he would never achieve. He looked at the world and saw God’s greatness; he looked at himself and people around him and saw that there was something wrong with humanity – a disconnect. It wasn’t until Jesus came that the disconnect was reconnected.

We have a chance to know intimately and deeply the God who created, and we have a chance that David didn’t to be clean and innocent because of Jesus. What David longed for came true in Christ. I invite you to find that, too.

The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.

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