Our interns have prepared an E-book version of this sermon. Enjoy!
The Psalm that we read today is a beautiful Psalm. This Psalm is about this beautiful world that we live in. This Psalm reminds me of the hymn we heard today (How Great Thou Art), “O Lord My God, when I’m in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made.” Also this song reminds me of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World: “I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you and I think to myself what a wonderful world”.
This psalm says “when I look at your heavens the work of your fingers. The moon and the stars that you have established” (Psalm 8:3).
The Beautiful World God Created
In the world God created, there are so many beautiful things: the mountains, rivers, deep forests, trees, the sun and the moon, and the beautiful stars in the sky. There are so many things that are so beautiful. Above all God made human beings the most beautiful. This is what the psalm said, “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 honour” (Psalm 8:4-5). We are just a little lower than God. The Psalm says that we are just a little lower than God. How honoured and how beautifully we must have been made! Genesis says that we were created in God’s beautiful image. Today’s psalm tells us that we human beings are crowned with glory and honour. Another psalm praises God like this “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made wonderful are your works that i know very well my frame was not hidden from you when i was being made in secret intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139).
The Beautiful You God Created
Sometimes, my friends, we feel like we are nobody. We feel like we are nothing. But not to God. To God we are a masterpiece that God has put all his effort into to create. The writer of today’s psalm knew of the care that God has put into creating us. “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them. (Psalm 8:4)” We treat ourselves like we are nobody but God treats us as the most precious thing in the world. Would God throw away something that he created with such care God? Would He just use us and throw us away? No! I don’t think so. God will preserve us and God will keep us when life is over on this earth. God will bring us back to his embrace. That’s what God will do. God will not just throw away that which he made so beautifully. God made us with such care and he told us to use the same care to care for the world that He created. This is what the psalm says, “You have even then dominion over the works of your hands you have put all things under their feet” (Psalm 8:6). God gave us the commission to take care of the beautiful world that he created. That is our responsibility. Destroying the beautiful world that God created is going against God’s will. That is a serious sin.
God Put On Our Crowns
Above all, God told us to keep in mind the dignity of human beings. We have to keep each other’s dignity. God has crowned us with glory and honour. We are precious and beautiful because God crowned us with glory and honour. Not because we are better than other people. No one can take away the crown that God has crowned us with. No matter how small a person may be. No matter how insignificant and powerless a person may be. No matter how weak and vulnerable we may be. On the head of that person, there is a crown of glory and honour that God has put on. We cannot take that down and trample it. That is going against God’s will. We have to keep the dignity of a human being. Jesus told us to love your neighbor. That means to keep the dignity of your neighbor. We should not ignore and insult another human being. No matter how angry we may be, we simply cannot humiliate another person.
Whenever a person’s dignity is trampled down, we should fight to restore it because that is something that must be kept intact. Jesus fought for the dignity of human beings. The poor, the sick, prostitutes, sinners, and tax collectors – they were ostracized, rejected and alienated but Jesus fought for their dignity, sacrificing his own life.
Keep Each Other’s Dignity
We are so saddened by the story of a precious and beautiful life that was trampled to death in Minnesota. We are saddened because the dignity of a person was trampled. That’s why so many people came out on the street in almost every city and every state not only in the US but the whole world. Their voices were loud and clear. Human dignity must be honoured. Racism is a sin that destroys the dignity of a person. George Floyd was literally trampled to death. Al Sharpton shouted, “Take your knee off of our neck.” Whenever I think about how he died, it brings tears to my eyes. How can a person die like that? His last words were, “I can’t breathe” and “Momma”. His mother died two years ago, but he called out “Mama”. When we are experiencing the last moment of our lives, we are missing the embrace of Mama. That’s why he called out, “Mama”.
We are precious in God’s eyes. There is nothing more important than realizing that we are precious. When we understand this, we will understand the heart of Jesus. When we have that understanding, our life will change. Don’t forget that you have a crown of glory and honour. And also don’t ever, ever forget that there is a crown on your sister’s and brother’s head, the crown of glory and honour that God has put on. Whenever this crown is taken away, we should put it on again. Let us keep each other’s dignity.
Congregational Prayer (Elder Brim Lee)
Thank you for giving us this beautiful day today, and for bringing us together week after week during this time of physical and social distancing. Lord, during these unprecedented times, it’s difficult to make sense of what is happening around us, with the pandemic keeping us isolated and separated from our community and family members, to the senseless violence and systemic racism that we still find deeply rooted in our society. Lord, as the summer is upon us, we pray for the continued health and safety of our community, and with all of our efforts to stay home, that the coronavirus’ numbers can continue to flatten and we can safely ease back into the new normal. Lord we know that the fight against this pandemic will continue for some time, so we pray for patience and strength to continue to endure this difficult period, until we are able to see each other once again. We also want to continue to keep our healthcare and essential workers in our prayers as well, as they continue to serve the community and keep our vital services open.
Lord, as we have witnessed racism time and time again in the US and across the world, we continue to pray and support not just our African American communities, but also any other people or communities that may be marginalized or those that suffer at the hands of an oppressor, whether white, black, or any other race or religion. As we look to healing and reform, Lord, we pray for acceptance and inclusion in society as a whole, and the eventual hope that people can love, respect, and accept each other for who they are, and not by the colour of our skin. Lord, let this recent experience not be another senseless statistic, but let it serve purpose and meaning for mobilization efforts, and to demonstrate that we are ready for change, and that change must happen. We pray for peaceful demonstrations, and as countries, governments, businesses, communities, and individuals contemplate change and how to best effect change, we pray that as human beings we can learn from this experience and move forward in unity.
Lord, we ask that you continue to bless our St Timothy community. We are apart in distance, but let us continue to feel close in spirit. Let our ministries continue to flourish, from our mens and women’s groups, our young families and young adults, our college and high-C kids, our grade school and children’s ministries. We also pray for our pastoral staff and ask that you continue to build them up and give them strength and encouragement.
Lord, thank you for continuing to show your love and grace in new and different ways. Let us continue to be faithful in our thoughts and in our actions, keep us healthy and safe, and guide us each and every day. We thank you, and pray in Jesus name.