Gloria in Excelsis Deo

By Jim Tune

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”

07_Harlow_JNI need to reflect more often on the awesomeness of God. I want to live with my shoes off, recognizing holy ground moments as God saturates everything with his awesome light. My posture ought to more often be that of a man standing in amazement trying to fathom the glory of Christ. Isaiah 55:9 reminds us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. In the time it takes to snap my fingers, light circumnavigates the globe six times. The sun is almost 93 million miles away, but light travels so quickly that the rays that warm our faces are only eight minutes removed from the sun. And the sun is our closest star in the galaxy. Astronomers have discovered billions of galaxies, some as far away as 13.2 billion light years. That distance is unimaginable. A light year translates to 5.88 trillion miles. So multiply 5.88 trillion miles by 13.2 billion light years and you come up with the unfathomable distance between the heavens and the earth. That should give you the idea of what God says is the distance between his thoughts and our thoughts!

So here’s my take. Our best thought on our best day is 13.2 billion light years short of how great and how good God really is!

Have you lost the wonder of the things of God? Psychologists study a phenomenon called habituation, which is the idea that you are initially intensely aware of an object when it is introduced into your environment, but over time your awareness begins to fade. Christians should be reveling as they see the work of God in their life and in their world, but over the passage of years they can become habituated. While every bush is aflame with God, they just sit around and pluck blackberries.

Genesis 28:16 tells of Jacob waking up at Bethel and saying, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” As Christmas 2015 gets under way, may our astonishment over God’s greatness blaze with rekindled wonder.

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
—“Angels We Have Hear on High”

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  1. December 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I lived in the AZ desert for 35 years (in the city of Chandler).
    But my wife & I moved to the Philippines in the summer of 2013.
    After more than two years here, I still enjoy occasional moments of just sitting & looking at the abundance of trees.
    My Filipino friends think I am “sira ulo” (crazy), because they don’t appreciate the trees as much as I do.
    Then again, when I lived in AZ, visitors there would sometimes comment on how beautiful that place is.
    And I would say, “Huh?”
    Great article, Jim.
    Yes, let’s make a decision to appreciate God’s glory.

  2. racquel carlow
    December 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Always appreciate when science (particularly physics) facts are included in a person’s faith statements. Physicists still do not understand the wave-particle duality of the nature of light. But light is the only tool that humans have to understand the nature and structure of the very small and the very far away. To me, this fact just seems to magnify the awesomeness of God in how He created this remarkable tool – light.
    Thanks, Jim.

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