Adult Education and Faith Formation
St. Luke Lutheran Church, Logan Square
9:00 am Sunday September 29, 2013
by Greg Singleton
“ALL” is a small word that implies “HUMONGOUS.” A 16th-century hymn begins “ALL people that on earth do dwell. . .” At the time that hymn was composed the population of our planet was an estimated 500 million people. Today the estimate is over 7 billion. That is indeed HUMONGOUS, but our species represents just a small fraction of the ALL in God’s creation. Psalm 148 (written millennia ago) makes a stab at capturing the depth and breadth of ALL: “. . .sun and moon. . .shining stars. . .highest heavens. . .waters above the heavens. . .sea monsters and all deeps. . .fire and hail. . .snow and frost. . .stormy wind. . .mountains and all hills. . .fruit trees and all cedars. . .wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds. . .kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth. . .young men and women alike, old and young together. . .” It’s a nice start that, alas, falls far short of the ALL any one of us could list if we put our minds to it, but even then we still wouldn’t be anywhere near ALL.
The crafters of the Nicene Creed (written in 325 C.E.) didn’t provide a list but simply made a summary statement we often recite during our liturgy. We claim that God is the “. . .maker of heaven and earth, of ALL that is, seen and unseen.” The very simplicity of those few words is deceptive. We rush past it to get to the Jesus article of the creed. Perhaps we need to take a big breath, call a time out, and contemplate how HUMONGOUS this collective word ALL is.
That is just what we will do from 9-10 on Sunday, September 29, 2013. It’s a big task, and we can only make a small start, but we’ll have a little help from our friends (including Aristotle, John the Evangelist, Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Fernand Braudel, and Lynn White, Jr.).