by Amos Smith
One comes to understand…the changeable nature of visible created things: how they derive from the earth and return again to the earth, thus confirming the words of Ecclesiastes: ‘Vanity of vanities; all is vanity’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
–Peter of Damascus
These lines come from an early Christian writer named Peter of Damascus who wrote a work called “Treasury of Divine Knowledge.” More or less one thousand years ago Peter wrote about how the only thing that is everlasting is the Creator. And so the only way to participate in life everlasting is devotion to the Creator through praise, written and spoken acclamation, and prayer.
The biological creatures of this planet and the dense matter that swirls through the cosmos all have their source in the Creator. According to Peter of Damascus when we go into the depths of prayer we perceive that all creatures arise for a time, then return to their Source. It is the Source that is timeless, eternal.
Worship in the most profound sense is acknowledgement that in the midst of all the numerous changes, in the midst of the institutions of society that were here for a time then vanished. In the midst of the tumultuous events of our times including global terrorism, climate change, and a flood of refugees, there is a constant that forms the universe and binds it together. It is enveloped in mystery, yet came to us in the fullness of time in the person of Jesus.
When the constant changes of life reach a crescendo may we recall that our Source is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2). This Source is our ultimate security from age to age – not distant, but personal in the ministry of Jesus.