I have made a decision to go back in time by studying how the people in the ancient church practiced spirituality. This morning, as I pondered Clement of Rome’s letters to the Corinthians, written around 90 AD, I was delighted to see that not much has changed. Of course, I am not quite halfway through his prose, and there is likely more to learn.
In Clement’s message to the Corinthians, he encouraged the reader to emulate the Saints. Of course, at such an early point in church history, the Saints were predominantly characters in the Old Testament. He talked of Moses’ humility before the burning bush when he said, “who am I, that you sent me? I am a man of feeble voice and a slow tongue.” He focused on David, who prayed for a clean heart, and recognized a bruised spirit as a worthy sacrifice.
In addition, Clement encouraged the people to find peace in meditating on the greatness of God’s creation. He encouraged them to the look at the universe, and all that it holds. Let’s think about this for a moment. During his time, the world was really no more than the territory under Roman control. They believed the heavenly bodies were in the sky; within the atmosphere.
The universe has expanded greatly during the last 2,000 years. God’s creation is much greater than that which brought Clement and others such joy. We know that the heavenly bodies extend light years beyond the atmosphere. We know that Earth is not the only planet in the universe. We speculate that there may even be additional life out there. Planets come in all shapes and sizes. The stars are suns in other galaxies. The sun and moon are no longer believed to circle the earth. We know that the earth is round, and yet things can stand at the bottom of the world and not fall off. Gravity is an amazing thing! Let us not forget the microscopic world that has been discovered, things like atoms, viruses, bacteria, and even smaller things than these.
What is it that we learn from meditating on God’s creation? We learn of God’s goodness. He is good because he has given all of this to us. He created multiple layers of creation for us to explore. Our quest to understand nature is handed on from generation to generation, and yet thousands of years into science, we have yet to run out of things to explore and study. In this, we can see the vast knowledge and power of God.
To ponder creation is to know God. When we come to know him, we come to know ourselves. We come to understand just how dependent we are on God. We start to understand our place before God. We start to understand the gravity of what happened in Eden when Adam Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We see how this story teaches us of human nature, and our desire to elevate ourselves to the level of God. We see how feeble are attempts are at being godly because his strength, power and might are far beyond us. The greatest of human weapons cannot hurt him. He is beyond us, and yet, he loves each of us more fiercely than any person has ever loved us. How amazing is that?
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit pondering God’s creation. Look at it from several different angles. Consider the mighty power of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to perfect your understanding of who you are before God. Ask him for the gift of humility. Spend some time thanking and praising him for spending time with you in prayer, and jot down any important highlights from your time in prayer.