"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"
- Psalm 8:1
As a member of the Protestant Women of the Chapel's European Council some years ago, I often traveled with military dignitaries, stayed in their homes or, on one special occasion, found myself seated at the head table between two generals - including former Fort Gordon Commander, Maj. Gen. Harley "Dinty" Moore.
That was a heady moment for this country girl, and I've retold the story at least a hundred times.
As a frequent participant in primarily Christian writers' conferences through the years, it's been my privilege to meet a number of the country's best-known Christian authors - including Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the popular "Left Behind" series. He was the keynote speaker the year I served as conference pianist.
And, back when The News-Times included nationally known columnists on its op-ed page, my column appeared on the same day as one by Jesse Jackson (and mine was above the fold!).
OK, if you're still reading this column, you're likely more disturbed by my "brag sheet" than impressed by the number of famous people I know - as if that had anything to do with who I am or how many of them remember me.
Name dropping: Why do we do it? The psychological term is "introjection," or the act of salving our own sagging egos by attaching ourselves to the accomplishments of others. Introjection is the opposite of "projection," another ego-salving act in which we blame others for our own shortcomings. Although my life has been immeasurably enriched by the people I've met and by what they've taught me, I do know that my stature depends on my own accomplishments, or lack thereof, not theirs.
But a few days ago, as I glanced out my beachside window and stared at the beautiful, cloudless blue sky and its brilliant reflection in the equally blue ocean below, this name-dropping subject occurred to me: I know the creator! He's my God. He wants to be my God - "I am the Lord your God," Exodus 20:2 - and unlike chance meetings with my human associates, God has promised to be with me always (Matthew 28:20). The earth and the sky: God's handiwork above and below the fold!
When comparing what God has given us to human gifts, Cheryl Forbes, writing in Zondervan's 1995 "Women's Devotional Bible," reminds me, "What is a basket of flowers compared to a grove of birches, a stand of pines, or a meadow of daisies? God is extravagant!"
Throughout the Psalms the writers can hardly contain themselves when comparing the God of that extravagance to his creatures. I think especially of the author of Psalm 8, who must have had a cloudless day and night outside his window, too, when he wrote: "When I consider the heavens, the moon and the stars... what is man that you are mindful of him?"
From time to time hymn and anthem writers come along who take the words of Scripture and turn them into music "so majestic and glorious that we unmistakably sense the very presence of God." This phrase describes contemporary Christian composer Tom Fettke, and one of the most popular sacred anthems of the day, "The Majesty and Glory of Your Name." (No, I've never met Mr. Fettke - but my choir director has!) Fettke's stirring anthem was made more powerful by Linda Lee Johnson's dramatic paraphrase of Psalm 8:
"When I gaze into the night skies and see the work of your fingers,
The moon and stars suspended in space,
"Oh, what is man that you are mindful of him?"
You have given man a crown of glory and honor, and have made him a little lower than the angels.
You have put him in charge of all creation: the birds of the air, the fish of the sea.
O Lord, our God, the majesty and glory of your name transcends the earth and fills the heavens.
O Lord, our God, little children praise you perfectly,
And so would we. Alleluia!"
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to seabara at aol.com.)
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