What are mortals that you should be mindful of them, their children that you should seek them out? You have made them but little lower than the angels; you adorn them with glory and honor; you give them mastery over the works of your hands; you put all things under their feet; all sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and all that walks in the paths of the sea. -Psalm 8:4-8
You probably remember that song, “He’s got the whole world in his hand?” Well, God may hold the whole world in God's hands, but God has entrusted everything under our feet to our care. For some reason, God gave us freewill, and the ability to choose whether or not to steward our world well. We can strive to support God’s vision of healing, reconciliation and peace with out lives, or we can fight it against God’s call to us - or turn our backs on it. We can love God and neighbor, or we can choose to neglect them. We can tread lightly on this earth, or we can strip it of its resources. The choice is always ours.
In fact, every choice we make, no matter how small, affects the wellbeing of the whole world. How we choose to spend our time, our energy, our gifts, our money, our bodies all matter. There is no such thing as living a life unto yourself - no one is an island. Even choices that we might assume only affect ourselves actually affect all those who are around us, and all of us together.
This is an awesome realization. Who are we, that God gives us this kind of influence? We are very important in God’s world. Each moment of our lives is imbued with both meaning and import. There is no such thing as a throwaway day or a useless hour. We can choose to live grateful, faithful lives or we can fall into living careless, destructive ones. Mostly, we all do some of both, and God is always calling us to practice improving our own particular ratio.
The lilies of the field and the sparrows in the air seem to be able just to simply follow their instincts from day to day, not trying to be number one or to build little lily or sparrow empires. Human lives, just a little lower than angels as the psalmist puts it, seem much more complicated than that. We need to consciously and intentionally choose how we will steward our lives and our world. This is a special privilege, but with it comes awesome responsibility for each one of us.
How do you live into your special human identity in God’s creation? How do you exercise your freewill each day? How do you choose to serve God with your life? In which ways do you give yourself back to God, who has given everything to you?
These are huge questions, and ones we are called to ask ourselves every day, our whole lives long.
The readings for this Sunday are HERE. Note that in ordinary time, we are using “Track 2” readings.