Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. – Psalm 139:14a (NRSV)
I wonder how old the psalmist was when they wrote this psalm. I wonder what gender they were, if they were short or tall, if they had big feet or if their ears stuck out. I wonder about the color of their skin, the color of their eyes, the texture of their hair. I wonder how much the psalmist weighed.
I wonder if their skin was smooth or wrinkled, if they still had all their teeth, or if their eyes were clouded with cataracts. I wonder if they were young and supple or bent over from hard work. I wonder if they had stretch marks from giving birth or scars from a job gone bad.
The psalm doesn’t give us any details of what the writer looked like – no hint as to their age, ability, height, or color. We’re left to wonder about all those things by which we so often judge ourselves and others.
The one thing the psalmist doesn’t wonder about is that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Of that they are certain, and that is reason enough to praise God.
I wonder what would happen if we, too, believed we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That despite what the world says about us or what we believe about ourselves, our creation – yours and mine, here and now, warts and all – is wonderful.
It might be a belief worth trying, at least for today.
We praise you, O Lord, for we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.