The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


And who are we?

Created little lower than angels, God has given us ultimate significance

The star-filled night sky seems to go on forever. Looking into it, we so easily imagine we are meaningless molecules in the midst of a vast universe. Each of us knows moments of feeling totally insignificant. This very human sentiment stands at the center of Psalm 8: Who am I? What are human beings anyway? Of what earthly good are any of us?

We may not know who we are as we look into those heavens. But we still are drawn in awe to praise the One who brought all this wonder into being. Psalm 8 begins and ends with such praise: "O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (verses 1, 9). God is praised as the one who rules in our lives and as Creator of all that exists, fashioning the heavens with mere fingers (8:3).

Envision Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel where God's outstretched finger reaches toward Adam, or William Blake's Ancient of Days in which God's fingers form a caliper that sends forth creative light. Both paintings illustrate the power of God's creative energy so forcefully evoked in the opening verses of Psalm 8.

Looking at the vast heavens, we see the panorama of God's work and ask about the meaning of life in a very particular way. We don't merely ask, "Who are we?" but more specifically: "Who are we that you, O Lord, our Sovereign, Creator of all, are mindful of us, pay attention to us, even care for us?"

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