(Today I led the weekly ecumenical chapel service in Tuttle Chapel at Wabash College. Here are the selected readings, a short meditation, and a hymn.)
And he [God] brought him [Abraham] outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; Yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Luke 19:37- 40
As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
“The Heavens Are Your Kin”
As a child, I loved to read my illustrated Bible through its pictures. My three favorites—the only ones I can really see in my memory today—were all built around rocks and stones. Boulders, really. Abraham kneeling beside a tortoise-shell-looking rock, gazing up at the cosmos; Moses standing on the jetties of the Red Sea, arms outstretched, parting the waters; Jesus kneeling, like Abraham, in Gethsemane, in agony.
In C.S. Lewis’ book The Discarded Image, our modern scientific vision of the heavens is contrasted with the “discarded image” of the incorrect, but deeply enchanted, Ptolemaic celestial model of the middle ages. What is at stake in this contrast is a threefold revelation, a threefold reality: our vision of God, creation, and the human person.
Today’s readings reveal a more radical contrast and richer religious insight than Lewis’. To see through the eyes of Abraham and the Psalmist is neither an option nor a historical trend: if we feign at blindness and remain silent, our next of kin, the stones and the heavens, will cry out and tell the glory of God—ad majorem Dei gloriam!