Mindful of Creation

By Michael Fitzpatrick

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 Creator of all things has, for a season, placed the animals of this island home under our care and responsibility. Our psalm for today could be easily taken to suggest this is a credit to our greatness. But it isn’t; the glory belongs to the Lord, though the responsibility belongs to us.

Before we get to verse 5, where the Almighty bestows humanity with crowns of glory and honor, the psalmist prefaces this with a statement of our humility before the one who etched the heavens with a divine finger. Given that God has made all this, who are we, ants on the surface of a rock in the backwater of the Milky Way galaxy, that the Holy One cares about our fates?

The subsequent verses thus function as a testament to God’s graciousness, giving responsibility to small humans to care for all living things on the earth. It’s not about our power, but about the grace given to us, specks of dust, vapors dissipating in the wind. So when we read verses 6-8, that all creatures are under our responsibility, it is not for us to do whatever we want with creation. We are to serve “the works of thy hands,” remembering that every dimension of our dominion only testifies to “how majestic is thy name in all the earth!”

How will it affect our care for the animals and habitats of this world if we are mindful of them in the same way that our redeemer was first mindful of us?

Michael Fitzpatrick is a doctoral student in philosophy at Stanford University. He attends St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, Calif., where he serves as a lay preacher and teacher.

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