"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set on their courses, what are mortals, that you should be mindful of them?” (Psalm 8)
Those words are somehow humbling - they set us in our place within God’s creation, which goes far beyond what we can see around us. Life sometimes becomes so frenetic that we lose perspective, as if we are at the centre of a whirlwind, which if it were to stop spinning, would mean we drop like a stone, unable to hold everything together. But we are not at the centre, and we are not indispensable (as I would remind myself frequently at work!). So does that mean we don’t matter? On the contrary. How might we respond to the question that the Psalmist posed - do we matter to a God, who has made so much more than us mere mortals? We just need to look around us to see what God has put at our disposal - an amazing world to sustain us and which we in turn are entrusted to look after, as indeed the Psalm goes on to say. It tells of "mere human beings” to whom God has given mastery over the work of his hands. Perhaps, then, the words of the Psalm are humbling and reassuring in equal measure - pointing towards a balance between knowing our place in God’s world and understanding that it is his gift to us.
Getting the balance right is often easier said than done! July is upon us, the season of barbecues and bees, holidays and heat haze - a mix of busyness, packing lots of activities into what always feels like a very short season, and restorative rest, when we try to take a break from work and daily routines. It is important to achieve the right mix, otherwise we end up swapping one kind of stress for another. Taking a step back to marvel at the way summer carries on regardless of our worries and stresses, to wonder at the cycle of life that continues despite the traumas that beset us - perhaps that can help us to put some of our concerns in perspective. So let the summer work its healing; allow the beauty of this wonderful season to distract you from your cares, and for a while, just revel in being part of something so much greater than us all.