Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!
~ Psalms 8 (NRSV)


In our introit this morning, and in our call to worship, in our opening prayer, and our scripture reading, and even in our sermon title, we heard this word “majestic.” Until we figure out what that word means, I don’t think we are going to fully understand today’s message. So, does anyone have any idea of what majestic means? Well, it often means “beauty” and it is used to explain how awesome, or magnificent, or impressive, or monumental, or glorious something is.

Have you ever been somewhere in nature where it’s so amazingly beautiful you’d describe it as majestic? Perhaps when you look up at the stars at night or out at the vast ocean, maybe as you look up at a giant mountain or even when you see a tiny hummingbird drinking nectar from a flower. How do you feel when you look at something like that? Sometimes your heart is full and overflowing, isn’t it? Or you feel like you need to stop right where you are to take in as much of the beauty as you can. Sometimes you feel small and inadequate, or you feel blessed and held in the hands of God.

In this morning’s scripture from the Book of Psalms, the author writes about how majestic God and God’s works are. I wonder, have you ever thought about God being majestic before? I don’t know if that’s a word that many of us use today. But, if we look at the beauty of the world around us as a reflection of God, or we imagine God’s hand creating the mountains and the oceans and the flowers and the trees and the animals, then I guess “majestic” just might be the right word. Because when we stop to notice something majestic or amazing, we begin to really wonder about it. Many times, majesty brings with it a sense of awe. Sometimes it even takes our breath away! It stops us in our tracks, and all we can do it try our best to take it in.

This morning’s Psalm helps us understand the importance of slowing down. When we do, we can begin to wonder and to think about and to imagine just how awesome God is, and what our true purpose is in this world might be. Because God has given each of us gifts, and when we share those gifts with others, doing the things that we love to do, we share amazing, beautiful, and majestic things with others. The problem is, sometimes we move too fast and we don’t pay attention to the beauty that is around us. We fill our days complaining about what we don’t have and what isn’t going the way we want it to. We take God’s amazing Creation and the people in it for granted, and we don’t see and appreciate the awe-inspiring gifts all around us.

Our final hymn today is called “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” and I’ve found a picture book that shares not only the words of the song with us but also shares amazing pictures of both simple and grand creations. (At this point, Pastor Kelly shares the book, reading aloud and showing the pictures.) As I’ve said, we are going to sing that song together in just a little bit, but what an amazing reminder to us of how awesome and beautiful and majestic all the things that God has created are.

Now here in Oldtown, we are surrounded by simplicity and majesty. Our church family has amazing gifts to share, and one of the awesome gifts that we have been blessed to have over the last seventeen or so years is the gift of music shared by the Sheppard family. Joyce served as our organist and pianist for the majority of that time, but Suzanne has also stepped in to help us, especially in last year or so, and we are so grateful for the gifts that they have shared with us. Not only have they shared their individual gifts of music, but they have shared their family with us as well. Since Joyce and her husband John joined our church back in 2004, Joyce was always here playing the organ or the piano and John sang in the choir, and he played the “big bongers”—as he called them—in our chime choir. Because Oldtown was more than just a job for Joyce, she also brought her family to be a part of holiday celebrations and special services. Over time, Joyce’s daughters Suzanne and Lisa shared their gifts and talents with us as well, offering amazing concerts for our church and our community. Suzanne even shared her gift writing a special song for our piano dedication and various other celebrations over the years. For all of the time and talents and treasures that they have shared with us over the years, we are truly grateful. Unfortunately for us, the time has come for Joyce and Suzanne to share their gifts in other places. So today will be their last Sunday with us. Suzanne is beginning a new job as the pianist at the Congregational Church in Rye NH, next week. Joyce and Suzanne, please know that you bring a piece of Oldtown with you wherever you go, and we pray and know that your new church community is blessed beyond measure by your amazing gifts, just as we have been.

Oh, that’s the other part of about majesty—it never belongs to one place or one person. It is the evidence of God still speaking and still working in and through the people and places around us.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, as you go out into your busy week ahead, remember to stop every once in a while. Stop rushing. Stop complaining. Stop worrying. And stop trying to control everything. Take a deep breath, and allow God to work in and through you. Then, open your eyes to see the amazing beauty and majesty all around you!

My friends, may it be so. Thanks be to God, Amen!


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