Text: Psalm 139:13-18
For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
Yes, the Lord created man wondrously and gloriously. Deep is the great sea, deeper is space, but deeper still is the spirit of man. Skillfully and beautifully was our body created; eyes and ears and tongue, yes, all even to the smallest member. What a miracle! Respiration and digestion and all the functions of life, what human thinking could discover them or create them? But what is this compared to the soul, the spirit, which God breathed into us from the beginning? There is understanding and memory with their ever increasing abilities; there is the will which no power can bend, but which can bend itself when it is healthy. There is the conscience, this heavenly witness. There is the heart – the heart which can give itself, can love, can receive divine love, and be united with God in the most glorious liberty and the most lively bond. God, You have thought of everything from eternity, and Your thoughts and Your ways created me skillfully in secret, in my mother’s womb.
And as You wondrously created me, You lead me wondrously on the paths which not I, but You, my God, have found. I am fallen, and my form has become corrupt; but You heal me and lead me on the paths of salvation; You have chosen me for eternal life, and You give it to me. You care for me in everything; nothing touches me without Your counsel; not one day, not one moment do You forsake me. “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. …You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. …You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. In the height and in the depth, day and night You shine before me.”
Let’s think about this! We must marvel over the Lord’s wisdom and almighty power and His unending goodness toward us; it always follows us: Shouldn’t we always praise it? Thus we go to sleep in the evening, thus we wake up in the morning. When we lie down we are with the Lord, when we get up we are with the Lord, always with the Lord with soul and body. With the Lord we dwell, with the Lord we eat, with the Lord we work, with the Lord we rest, with the Lord we live, with the Lord we die.
Blessed is everyone who knows You, Lord! Your mercy reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains, Your judgments are a great deep. How precious is Your mercy, O God, and mankind seeks shelter in the shadow of Your wings. Blessed be Your glorious name forever! Amen.
O all ye pow’rs that He implanted,
Arise, and silence keep no more;
Put forth the strength that He hath granted,
Your noblest work is to adore.
O soul and body, be ye meet
With heartfelt praise your Lord to greet!
Ye forest leaves so green and tender,
That dance for joy in summer air;
Ye meadow grasses, bright and slender;
Ye flow’rs, so wondrous sweet and fair;
Ye live to show His praise alone,
With me now make His glory known.
Mentzer: O that I had a thousand voices L 514:2-3 ELH 443:2-3 tr. The Lutheran Hymnal;
tune: O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte