In new faculty orientation, I sang the hymn “Earth and All Stars” for the first time. I’ve been told that were I Lutheran, it would not have been such a new experience. In any case, it was fun to sing about various human works that proclaim the majesty of God. The reformed tradition frequently reminds me of the powerful concept of “work as worship,” not to be confused with the also-important idea of meditation through work. And, there are many many hymns that speak to how the natural world (mountains, thunder, forests, and the like) bring glory to God.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the thing that struck me as especially interesting about this particular hymn is how it transitions from creation in the first verse to “our creation” in the second, to our minds and hearts in the last verses. It’s easy for me to forget that everything belongs to God and is for His glory – even the things I make, even the knowledge and skills I work hard to develop, and even the loves I tend with my whole heart. It’s easy to trick myself into holding on to “my” little share of the glory that rightfully belongs completely to God. I do it in the name of professionalism, self-respect, and family. I do it because I fear an identity outside of myself. I do it because I doubt if Christ alone is truly enough.
I’m praying that this semester, God would continue to show me that “my” classrooms and labs are in fact His. I’m looking forward to taking part in the marvelous things He has planned!