AnglicanCommunionTheology & Spirituality

Splendour in Every Crack and Crevice

The night skies sing the glory of God!

Dark and light, clouds and constellations are crafted by his deft hands.

Daily they declaim, night upon night they raise a chorus of praise.

Even though our ears cannot hear their speeches and symphonies,

Still their message of God’s glory and splendour has filled

Every crevice and crack in all of the cosmos.


Thus I paraphrased the opening verses of Psalm 19 a few weeks ago. I was out on a snowy tramp in the mountains, seeking some solitude under the night sky. The Milky Way was so thick with stars that it was more like seeing specks of black space in a sky of silver light. My heart responded with the opening lines of Psalm 19 and the Doxology.


In my life I find that Beauty leads me to worship. Beauty soothes the wounds inflicted on various fronts. No, let me rather say that Beauty heals our wounded souls. It enriches our lives. This is because Beauty is not an end in itself, but is a reflection of God’s holiness. Beauty heals our hearts by leading us to worship and thank the Almighty One.


This giving thanks (eucharisteo in Greek) is our connection to life in Christ himself. Think for a moment of what various church traditions call the Lord’s Supper—the Eucharist. Growing up in a more evangelical set of churches, I thought that the Lord’s Supper was a time for seeing how wicked I was and for repenting. Earnestly I would examine myself, tell God I was sorry, eat the bread, drink the juice, and go home.


Years of conversations and reading Scripture more deeply have reshaped my understanding of the Eucharist. Yes, I examine my heart, I agree with God that the things I have done or left undone are sin, and now I ask to walk in newness of life—the spiritual life of Christ received in the bread and the wine of the common cup. My response to his sacrifice and his life is spoken by the chalice bearer: “Take this in remembrance that Christ died for you and be thankful.”


God, who is good (eu), offers me grace (charis) through Christ. My response is to give thanks (eucharisteo). It is a daily rhythm, like the steady beating of my heart, or breathing in and out. Every day I am greeted with Beauty in various places, ways, and individuals. I am offered the healing and grace of God, if I will keep my eyes and heart open to see and receive his gifts. In response, I breathe out my thanks, my praise of his goodness and holiness and Beauty.


I am learning that healing and thanksgiving do not come in one fell swoop. They are an everyday process. As it is an existential request to be emptied of myself and filled afresh with God’s Spirit, so it is with practising eucharisteo. Only Jesus can accomplish something “once for all”, whilst we must take daily steps toward him and his completeness.


Stars have never put a scrap of silver in my pocket, but I am richer for their beauty shining into my eyes and heart. The person I am, fragmented by the Fall, is becoming more like Jesus, made whole by Beauty that leads to worship—by grace flowing in, thanksgiving flowing out. Every crevice and crack in me is being filled with the splendour of God. Like the stars in the heavens, I shine out with the glory of God. Yet unlike those silver spheres, my words of praise to God can be heard by my fellow men, if only I will speak them.

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna (Jody) Byrkett enjoys hiking various types of terrain, foggy mornings and steaming mugs of tea, reading classic literature and theological essays, studying words and their origins, and practising the art of hospitality. (She also has the singularly annoying habit of spelling things 'Britishly'.)

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