Have you ever met royalty? I have twice met Princess Anne and once Princess Margaret. I have been 20 yards from the Queen in a crowd. Princess Anne I found sharp with a mind of her own and Princess Margaret a heavy smoker and drinker who liked a joke. I've never met a famous politician, though my local MP, whom I have met once, is shadow minister for culture and sport. I was once in the same bank queue with Harry Redknapp, a famous football manager, but apart from him the only sports star I have met is Frank Bruno, one of Britain's famous horizontal heavyweights. I know a member of a well-known rock band. Of course, I know a lot of doctors who are famous in their own circles. I have never met anyone from the world of culture apart from a second violin in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Natalie Clein, the cellist, though I knew her parents rather better than her. I have met a few well-known journalists, both professionally and socially, though the ones I knew socially are both dead. Even in the world of the Church the people I have met are pretty small fry - no bishops or archbishops. If we put it the other way round and asked all these people, "Do you know Terry Hamblin?" they would answer, "Terry who?"
Having established my insignificance the awesomeness of God is hard to contemplate.
In church this morning we sang this chorus 5 times:
Our God is an awesome God,
He reigns from heaven above,
With wisdom power and love,
Our God is an awesome God!
I was getting irritated at this 'vain repetition' but then it began to get to me. We need to realise just how awesome He is. Not Princess Margaret. Not even the Queen. Not Tony Blair, not even George Bush. Not Tiger Woods, Carl Lewis or even Micky Mantle. Not Mohammed Ali, not David Beckham, not Clint Eastwood or Robert Redford, not Nelson Mandella, not the Dalai Lama, not even the Pope. Their grandeur is a pale imitation. This is who created the earth, the sun the stars. Even our own galaxy seems impossibly large for us to imagine - just think of a universe with millions of galaxies. Yesterday, I was enjoying looking down my microscope at blood cells - 25 trillion in a spoonful of blood, but I knew that magnificent though the magnification of my microscope was, it could not see the smaller organelles within the cell. I would need an electron microscope to see mitochondria and nuclear membranes and the endoplasmic reticulum. Even smaller are the molecules strung together in proteins and DNA. But beyond that are subatomic particles that I cannot contemplate.
How awesome is a God who knows every hair on my head and cares for the raiment of the flowers of the field and holds the very sparrows in his hand. How tremendous He is who created this marvelous universe from the smallest electron to the mightiest star, who stands outside of time to see simultaneously a crystal form in Alpha Centuri and a murderous thought in the mind of a tribesman in the Kalahari.
St Paul pictures us a slaves; the most insignificant members of a household. We counted for nothing. We could have been bought or sold on a whim. Our lives or deaths meant nothing. We could have no access to the head of the household. Our complaints were as nothing; our desires meaningless; our lives pointless.
The idea of anthropogenic global warming for example is a joke. As if we could influence anything. What arrogance! What hubris! God laughs and has them in derision.
It is when we see our smallness and God's greatness that we can begin to appreciate what Jesus has done for us. "You are no longer a slave but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you an heir."
As a slave we could not pray. God was so remote. So 'up there' to our 'down here'. But as a son and heir we can say Father or even more intimately 'Abba' or 'Daddy' and know that he longs to listen to us.