Wednesday of Trinity – Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

One of my favorite authors from the medieval period is Thomas Aquinas. He doesn’t get much reading in Lutheran circles. Luther did not think much of Thomas. I like the “Angelic Doctor” as his medieval readers called him. Their use of this nickname for him sparked a competition among the acolytes of other medieval theologians. Thomas’ contemporary and friend Bonaventura came to be called the “Seraphic Doctor” because a seraph is higher than an angel and the Franciscans thought their man Bonaventura was just better than the Dominican Thomas. My favorite is Alexander of Hales who came to be called the “Irrefutable Doctor.”

Thomas was in truth a very humble man and would have been embarrassed to be called angelic. He refused to become a bishop when it was offered to him by the Pope and devoted his life to writing his many works. In the introduction to the second part of one of his greatest works, he used a wonderful term to describe a human being. He called us “horizon creatures.” We participate in both the mortal and immortal worlds, living on the edge where the world of senseless matter meets the incorporeal wisdom and love of God. For Thomas, this makes us very special indeed. In some ways, we have something which exceeds that of the angels who do not participate in the material world. The psalmist wonders that God has such regard for the human beings. He has put them into this horizon place, a little lower than the angels, but over all the created world. But this psalmist was David, the father of a particular baby born in a manger centuries after David’s death. Peter tells us David was also a prophet, who saw that day of Jesus birth. What is man that God has such regard for him? How does the Lord of heaven and earth come to be a child on a mother’s lap? How does our humanity get to participate in the glory of God? Indeed, with David we could stand before that question for a very long time and just wonder. If you want to join Thomas in that awe and wonder, consider reading or singing hymn #630 and/or #640 in LSB. Both were written by Thomas in contemplating Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper.

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