On one side of my desk I have a little statue of an elephant with its hands pressed together. It has been designed as a praying elephant and it is my daily reminder of the beautiful message of a psalm verse, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.”
Christians celebrate that each of us is a beloved creature of a loving Creator. Christians also celebrate the witness in the Old Testament book of Genesis, that God saw all his creation as very good. God looks lovingly on all of creation, people, trees, rocks and rivers, insects, kangaroos and elephants. So the psalmist rightly calls on all creation to respond to God’s loving care for all our world with praise, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.”
God has not set this world into motion then slipped off into distant heaven. God is present and active with this creation. God is with every breath, busy and active, painting sensational sunsets, sculpting mountains and valleys, colouring the faces of each new born person.
On the other side of my desk is the symbol that we know as God’s signature for all of God’s work in our world. Signatures are significant because they identify who the actual artist is. God gives us the sign of the cross, to declare his hand is at work. The cross of Jesus Christ tells us what we need to know about who God really is. The cross tells about God’s heart. The cross tells us that God has worked to deal with sin and death – that we could have life and salvation and the forgiveness of sin through all that Christ Jesus had done for us in his life and death and resurrection.
Dr Martin Luther once suggested that we could start and end each day, making the sign of the cross over our own chest and saying, “Under God’s care, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Across our Lutheran communities in Queensland, the cross stands out as the dominant symbol most commonly used amongst us. This is our witness to the certainty of God’s love that is at work despite what others might say, or despite whatever crises might come our way.
We know that we are wonderfully created by a gracious Lord and that we are and lovingly shown mercy by God, however great our sin. We know that because of the cross.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord, for the work of the cross. Amen.