Colum Cille (11)
The Most High, foreseeing the frame and order of the world
had made the heaven and earth. The sea and waters He established;
likewise the blades of grass, the twigs of shrubs;
sun, moon, and stars; fire and necessary things;
birds, fish, and cattle; beasts and living things:
and lastly man first-formed to rule with prophecy.
So soon as the stars, the lights of the firmament, were made,
the angels praised for His wondrous handywork
the Lord of the vast mass, the Builder of the heavens,
with praise giving proclamation, meet and unceasing;
and in noble concert gave thanks to the Lord,
of love and choice, not from endowment of nature.
- Colum Cille, “Exalted High Sower”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
- John 1.1-3
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
- Hebrews 1.1-4
In stanzas 3 and 4 of “Exalted High Sower” Colum Cille addressed the fall of Satan and other angels. Pride brought them down, Colum explained, as “the author of vainglory and stubborn envy” introduced sin to the spiritual realm. In stanzas 7 and 8 Satan is cast out of heaven and, condemned to inhabit the lower realms of creation, takes out his resentment by causing Adam and Eve to fall into sin.
But all this takes place under the sovereign, watchful, and knowing eye of God. Sandwiched between these four stanzas are stanzas 5 and 6, in which Colum explains the scope and joy of God’s creative work. We won’t quibble with Colum about the order of his stanzas, except to note that the fall of Satan happened some time after all the creation was finished and “very good” (Gen. 1.31). Whatever Colum’s reasons were for changing the order of events in stanzas 3-8 must remain a mystery for now.
An important parallel appears in the stanzas excerpted above. God foresaw “the frame and order of the world”, but only because He saw what He spoke it to be, and how His continuing Word of power keeps and sustains it. He foresaw what He would create and precisely how it would function, according to His will. The Word of God created all things and sustains all things large and small, living and non-living, near and far, wild and domestic, and man to rule them all. Man’s means of rule was to be “prophecy”, that is, the Word of God. As God created and sustains the world, man is charged with ruling it. To the extent man rules the world according to the Word of God, the world continues as God intends.
The angels rejoiced at the glory of creation, not, Colum insists, because they could do no other, but because they freely chose. We do not worship God because we ought to; or, if we do, what we are doing is not worship. We worship God because of the enormity of His love, power, glory, majesty, wisdom, and goodness, and because He deigns to reach out to us with wave upon wave of grace, day by day. We worship God because the reminders of His grace and glory accost us everywhere. We worship God because He has called us to His Kingdom and glory and gifted us to rule over His creation for good.
Colum, it is clear, had a large view of God. Do we? Are we conscious of His Presence by glimpsing His glory in the things He has made? Are we diligent to search His Word that we might understand how to fulfill our calling in all its facets? Do we see God seeing us, and do we seek Him and His grace and glory for all our everyday tasks? He is the exalted High Sower of all things beautiful, good, and true. And He has created and called us as sowers of His benefits with all the people around us and all of creation. He alone is worthy of all our worship and praise.
The devil and his fallen angels work hard to discourage us from a fuller, richer, truer, and more powerful vision of God and His will. Colum’s poem recognizes Satan and his ilk as a potent source of distraction, discouragement, disappointment, and worse.
But his focus is not there, and neither should ours be. We look to God our Creator, Keeper, Savior, Lord, and King, and we rejoice to see Him all around us, watchful of our needs and careful about our keeping. And we rejoice to belong to Him through Jesus Christ.
1. What things in the creation cause you to praise God each day?
2. Would you say that you have a large view of God and His will? Explain.
Psalm 33.6, 7 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God spoke and heaven came to be, and all its hosts His Spirit wrought.
He heaps the waters of the sea; the deeps their dwelling place are taught.
Let all below now fear the LORD; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by His own Word; let all on earth in Him confide.
Show me Your glory today, O God, and I…
T. M. Moore, Principal
To see Jesus
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.