HIGHLANDS CHURCH BLOG

Reflection – March 24, 2019: Gifts of the Darkwood – Thunderstruck

Brian Swimme once said: “Four billion years ago the planet Earth was molten rock; now it sings opera!” That kind of observation leaves me speechless. To contemplate with our little bit of knowledge just how the creation has become and is becoming, indeed how we have become and are becoming leaves me thunderstruck. That stunned, gob-smacked, wide eyed, thunderstruck posture brings us together in praise of the Creator.

(click on the image to view the full service video)

Reflection – March 24, 2019: Gifts of the Darkwood – Thunderstruck
by Will Sparks

For the Beauty of the Earth, Sung with spoken reflection

Verse 1
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
God of all, to you we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Reading:
Ignite Life, from “The Universe is a Green Dragon” by Brian Swimme
“We work to ignite life. . .you must see this as basic to the universe. Consider the star. . .In the core of a star helium, carbon, oxygen, silicon, all the elements up to iron are created in blazing heat. If a star is of sufficient size, after billions of years it explodes, creating all the rest of the elements, sending them off into the universe. Our own solar system emerged from an exploded supernova, creating the planets and their many elements. Minerals and life forms are created out of supernova explosions.

Think about it! When you breathe, you breathe the creations of a star. All the life you will live is possible because of the gifts of that star. Your life has been evoked through the work of the heavens, do you see?”

Verse 2
For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light,
God of all, to you we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

There’s a certain orchid that looks exactly like a certain insect so the insect is drawn to this flower—its double, its soul mate—and wants nothing more than to make love to it. After the insect flies off, it spots another soul-mate flower and makes love to it, thus pollinating it. And neither flower nor the insect will ever understand the significance of their lovemaking. I mean, how could they know that because of their little dance the world lives, but it does. By simply doing what they’re designed to do, something large and magnificent happens. In this sense they show us how to live, how the only barometer you have is your heart; how when you spot your flower you can’t let anything get in your way.
– Susan Orlean, “The Orchid Thief” (69-70)

Verse 3
For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
God of all, to you we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Reading: Job 37:1-5, 14-18 from “The Message”
“Whenever this happens, my heart stops—
I’m stunned, I can’t catch my breath.
Listen to it! Listen to his thunder,
the rolling, rumbling thunder of his voice.
He lets loose his lightnings from horizon to horizon,
lighting up the earth from pole to pole.
In their wake, the thunder echoes his voice,
powerful and majestic.
He lets out all the stops, he holds nothing back.
No one can mistake that voice—
His word thundering so wondrously,
his mighty acts staggering our understanding.

“Job, are you listening? Have you noticed all this?
Stop in your tracks! Take in God’s miracle-wonders!
Do you have any idea how God does it all,
how he makes bright lightning from dark storms,
How he piles up the cumulus clouds—
all these miracle-wonders of a perfect Mind?
Why, you don’t even know how to keep cool
on a sweltering hot day,
So how could you even dream
of making a dent in that hot-tin-roof sky?

Verse 4
For each perfect gift sublime
to our race so freely given,
graces human and divine,
flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
God of all, to you we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

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