Tumbling in the Sand
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in their courses, what are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them?” -Psalm 8:3-4
I took pottery in college. It was a nice distraction from everything else I was doing and I found myself spending lots of extra time at the wheel turning clay into bowls. I never got very good, but I loved the feel and the look of the clay as I intimately engaged with it, covering myself in the wet clay as I formed it as much as it etched itself into every crack and crevice in my skin. Ever since I took that class, I love earthenware and pottery work. I love looking at each unique piece, which bears in it the actual finger lines of the artisan who created it—sometimes even bearing their finger prints where they pressed a handle to the side of a vessel. Interestingly, even the works created by the same artist all look a little different even though they have the same fingerprints all over them.
When Lee and I went to Australia, we got to go visit Uluru, sometimes known as Ayer’s Rock, this massive rock formation in the middle of the outback, which rises over 800 ft straight up into the air out of completely flat surrounding land and it is over 1 mile across. It is incredible. The Aboriginal people view the rock as a sacred site and I could totally see and feel why. One of the interesting things about Aboriginal sacred sights though, is that they always bear some sort of mark left behind by the dream-time creatures, the creating beings, that made them. Uluru was no exception and on the side of it, in one wind eroded cave, there was this giant mark that looked like a footprint. Sacred: created by God, marked by God, bearing God’s footprint …
These two images come to mind as I read this passage in Psalm 8. The image of the fingerprints of God all over creation catches my imagination. The stars themselves textured with God’s shaping fingers. The earth imprinted with each footfall of God. And even though we seem so small in the midst of the vastness of this universe, even our very selves are embedded with the fingerprints of the hands of God as God holds us tightly. Maybe even the faint etchings that a scarred hand might leave. We and all creation, sacred. Created by God. Marked by God. Bearing God’s footprints and hand-prints and even scar prints.
And interestingly, like me and the clay at the wheel, we cover God with our very selves, etching ourselves into every crack and crevice that God opens up in love. And God revels in the co-creation! What wondrous love is this! Amen.