By FRANCIS REMKIEWICZ
It is 5:30 on a Sunday morning and the rain is pattering on the tin roof above my head. For this Vietnam combat veteran there is nothing quite like the dawn of a new day. The smell of rain. The wetness in the air. The freshness that comes with a new dawn that first brings a glimmer of light breaking the darkness from the night, then the gray clouds interspersed with the pinks and oranges and finally a blue sky in the background with billowy white/gray/silver clouds fills my soul with possibilities.
My thoughts turn to thanksgiving for a new day and towards the worship service I am about to lead. In these first few minutes I let my mind wander while stray thoughts just dart in and out of my brain. The darkness turning to light has me thinking about the destruction of evil and darkness by the light and goodness of a brand-new start. Rain in California makes me think of the myriad of competing interests over water issues in California. The colors of a breaking day allow me to contemplate the bright and vivid world in which we live. I now realize I am participating in a process that has been going on since the beginning of the universe. For some unknown reason, I latch onto that thought and away I go.
How many billions of people are witnessing the same dawn? How many billions of people witnessed the same dawn before I was a twinkle in the eye of my mother? And how many billions of people will witness this dawn long after I am gone?
All of that was just the prelude to the theme of this month’s column. My seemingly insignificant and unknown existence in a world that pays me, as an individual, no real attention. I am sitting on my patio, and it rains, dawn breaks, the sun rises, the sun sets, streetlights go on or off, birds fly, and clouds blow by and not one thing depends on or even recognizes my existence.
There are a few lines from the Book of Job that I have remembered for this as well as other reasons.
2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up your loins like a man;
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings (a) shouted for joy?”
Now, there was something else going on in God’s comments to Job but my point is how insignificant we are in this vast universe. How little we really know. There are lots of great scientists with both common and extraordinary theories about the beginning and maintenance of our universe but the fact is no one save God, knows.
God’s creation of our enormous universe is “awesome”. Not awesome in some silly and meaningless kind of modern-day usage such as “like those fireworks are awesome man.” Rather awesome in the sense of causing fear, trembling and wonderment. Imagine the enormous thought and power that went in to creating this universe. How many galaxies and how do those galaxies work. And our solar system and how it works to keep order in the midst of chaos. That type of wonderment is what I am trying to convey.
Yet in that enormity the Creator knows me.
We are less than a grain of sand to God caught in a nanosecond of the universe and yet this awesome God knows me and everything about me. More than that, he wants to be in a relationship with me. That is the greatness, goodness, and love of our God. The best analogy I could provide is a person with the power of your dad, the goodness of your mother, the wisdom of your grandparents, the intellect of an Albert Einstein all rolled into one person and that person is calling you out to be in an unconditional and loving relationship. God wants us to love him as much as he loves us and to prove it God has given us his greatest gift of all, his son, Jesus Christ.
By now the sun has come up above the rooftops of the homes surrounding my home. The full light of the new day has filled my neighborhood and there is a faint mist rising from the leaves of my rose bushes. I know who I am and what I must do. It is, as I mentioned before, Sunday morning. With all that surrounds me, all that I am thinking about there is but a single answer to all that. I must, no let me correct that, I need to go and worship this awesome being we know as God. Clearly my understanding of God is at best, rudimentary. One thing I am sure of is that I want to know more, want to be in that loving relationship that God has so mercifully offered. How else can I respond to all that I have thought about this morning but to meet with people of a like mind and together fall on our knees and worship the one true living God.
Francis (Frank) Remkiewicz is an area resident and contributes a monthly column focused primarily on faith and religion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.