Scope of belief and scale of revelation

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: all creation worships you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide. (BCP 95)

As I sit on my patio saying Morning Prayer I am thinking about the scope of belief and the scale of revelation.

Creation

“All creation worships you” we say in the Te Deum laudamus, the ancient canticle of praise.

The scope of our belief is not just the seemingly endless universe spanning 14 billion light-years, but the power of God himself, the “Father, of majesty unbounded” — that is, beyond all our measuring and all our perception.

And yet the scale of revelation is that even the chirping of the birds on this misty morning speaks to me of the nature of creation, of its goodness.

Church

“Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you.”

At our Deacons’ Council meeting yesterday, we spoke with Bishop Matt Gunter about the Diocese of Fond du Lac joining in a companion relationship with another diocese in the Anglican Communion.

He shared his experience with the Diocese of Renk in South Sudan, and others on the council spoke of mission trips to Guadalajara, Mexico or to Lima, Peru.

The bishop of our neighboring Diocese of Eau Claire, one of the smallest in the Episcopal Church, is visiting their companion Diocese of Harare, Zimbabwe, one of the largest in the Anglican Communion.

Our belonging to that worldwide Church is mediated to us, brought to scale, through relationships with people in our own parishes or in the places we visit.

We participate in that worldwide acclamation by joining others around the altar for Communion on Sundays and praying the Offices as fellow-Christians do in every time zone around the globe.

The Church is brought to human scale by people in a parish and pages in a book. They are the signs to me that I belong.

Daily Office Basics

 

Human Scale

But these small-scale revelations draw me back out into consideration of a mystery.

Like the people around me, who show me God in their faces, and like the book that contains the words of the Scriptures and the prayers of the Church — like these, God comes to us in human scale.

“The Father, of majesty unbounded” is known to us in the person of Jesus, his “true and only Son, worthy of all worship.”

The mystery that we call the Incarnation is all about scope and scale.

In a specific person who lived in a specific place at a specific time, the God who is beyond all knowing chose to reveal something of himself to us.

And in that revelation, our notions of scope and scale are turned upside down and we begin to see ourselves as God sees us.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

Listen to the chirping of birds in the garden, to the witness of the people around you, to the words of the prayers and the Scriptures.

For those who have ears to hear, that human scale reveals a love of limitless scope.

 

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