God’s Great Work

By Pamela Lewis

A Reading from Psalm 8

1 O LORD our Governor,
how exalted is your Name in all the world!

2 Out of the mouths of infants and children
your majesty is praised above the heavens.

3 You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries,
to quell the enemy and the avenger.

4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,

5 What is man that you should be mindful of him?
the son of man that you should seek him out?

6 You have made him but little lower than the angels;
you adorn him with glory and honor;

7 You give him mastery over the works of your hands;
you put all things under his feet:

8 All sheep and oxen,
even the wild beasts of the field,

9 The birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.

10 O LORD our Governor,
how exalted is your Name in all the world!


The psalmist showers praise on God, children, and on God’s most valuable creation: people. God’s greatness and majesty permeate all of creation. Portions of this psalm are quoted in the New Testament and are applied to Christ (1 Cor. 15, 27 and Hebrews 2:6-8), who became human, just a little lower than the angels, but who will nonetheless raise all who belong to him. To children (babes), the Creator has given the power to praise, as they are best able to trust God without doubts or reservations. Their guilelessness positions them to silence the enemies of God.

As Hamlet had pondered the nobility of man (“What a piece of work is a man… in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god…”), the psalmist wonders why the Creator gives man any consideration and has bestowed glory and honor upon him.

In the vastness of the universe, we humans are a mere speck, and we constantly disappoint God and dishonor and despoil the created world of which we are a part. We have great worth because we bear God’s imprimatur; we are made in his image, even in our diversity.

In tasking us to be the stewards of creation, God gave us an enormous and frightening authority (Gen. 1:26, 27). He has already declared how valuable we are to him, therefore we should be free from feelings of worthlessness, and honor what the Creator has generously given to us.

Pamela A. Lewis taught French for thirty years before retirement. A lifelong resident of Queens, N.Y., she attends Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, and serves on various lay ministries. She writes for The Episcopal New YorkerEpiscopal Journal, and The Living Church.

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