Thursday 12th November
Psalm 8 vs 1 - 5
1 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. 2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5 You have made him[d] a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honour.
Yesterday was Armistice Day and 100 years ago on the 11th November 1920 the “Unknown Warrior” was interred in Westminster Abbey with full state honours. The story is fascinating the bodies of 5 soldiers were exhumed from their graves on the battlefields of northern Europe and taken to a church where one was chose completely at random, his name and rank unknown but this one soldier on behalf of all the others who died in the Great War was to be the focus of the nation’s remembrance.
We do such things to remember loved ones, the sacrifice of warriors who died in the defence of our freedom, people who have mattered to us but this psalm tops the lot. David, having established the majesty and power of God asks a simple question, a rhetorical question which expects the answer nothing and in doing so highlights the love of God for humanity. If this is who you are Lord, what are human beings that you remember them? The gulf between us is great. Weak, frail in body, ruled by death, one among countless billions through the ages what are we individually that God shown know us and remember us. Nothing! Yet he does, he does know and he remembers us. The prophet Isaiah brought God’s word to his people in Old Testament times and at one point he brought this message from God… “But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;”
How many times have you written something on the palm of your hand so that you would remember it? That’s the image given to us by Isaiah but there’ something in the words that points ahead to the nail scarred hands of Jesus and the sacrifice on the cross by which Jesus carried the sins of his people and atoned for them freeing them from judgement. If you don’t know Jesus, he sure knows you, and he calls us each to come to him and give ourselves to him in faith.
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